Verdict: Brian Houston propagates the Prosperity Gospel as well as the Popularity Gospel
Brian Houston is the founder and current leader of Hillsong. He is the face of Big Eva in the Australian continent, but his influence is far from limited to just down under. His church is a massive worldwide organization that outsizes many denomination in terms of capacity. Many of the world’s major cities have a Hillsong church in them. Hillsong even has its own TV channel. Brian Houston founded Hillsong in 1983, with his wife Bobbie.
Association with False Teachers
Sins of the Father
It is settled matter that Frank Houston is a pedophile
Now, we do not hold men accountable for the sins of their father. But Brian Houston’s dealings with said sin are a different matter. The evidence compiled by Salt and Light is a more recent evidence of what appears to be habitual lying about the issue.
But let the record show
- Frank Houston molested up to nine boys
- Brian Houston knew back in 1999
- Alleged quote from Houston “You know, it’s your fault all this happened. You tempted my father”.
- Brian Houston facilitated payments to victims.
- Brian Houston did not call police
- Brian Houston continued letting his father preach
All of these disqualify Brian Houston on the grounds of not being above reproach as required by 1 Timothy 3.
Brian Houston’s Hillsong Church is an egalitarian organization. Meaning they ordain women as pastors. As written before, one does not simply ignore the Bible on a singular issue.
From the statement of faith on Hillsong’s website
We believe that God wants to heal and transform us so that we can live healthy and blessed lives in order to help others more effectively.
This is Prosperity Gospel language packed into their faith statement. It appears to be a substitution for a statement on fulfilling the Great Commission.
In addressing Hillsong, Got Questions Ministry states:
In Pastor Brian Houston’s 1999 book You Need More Money, he promotes the prosperity gospel: “We have to become comfortable with wealth, and break the bondage, guilt and condemnation of impoverished thinking. Poverty is definitely not God’s will for His people. In fact, all His promises talk of blessing and prosperity” (page 8). Houston insists that he only promotes seeking wealth for unselfish purposes—such as investing in ministry—but it is hard to reconcile the idea that “poverty is definitely not God’s will” with Paul’s teaching to be “content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12, emphasis added).
Al Mohler, President of SBTS, even condemns Brian Houston and Hillsong as a Prosperity Gospel movement.
Hillsong is perhaps the number one name in the Popularity Gospel around the world having been first rooted in the Prosperity Gospel. This is mostly because of the success of its music and the connections to prominent celebrities. Consider Brian Houston’s current vision statement “The Church I Now See” dated 2014.
I see a church that is big enough to dream on a global scale, yet personal enough for every ONE to find their place. I see a church that beckons ‘WELCOME HOME’ to every man, woman and child that walks through the doors.
The church that I see is a worshipping church whose songs reflect such a passion for Christ that others sense His magnificence and power. A distinct sound that emanates from a healthy church, contagious in spirit – creating music that resounds from villages and tribes to great cities and nations.
I see a church that is constantly innovative: A church that leads the communication of a timeless message through media, film, and technology. A church with a message beamed to people around the globe through their television screens, bringing JESUS into homes, palaces and prisons alike
I see a church that loves God, loves people and loves life. Youthful in spirit; generous at heart; faith-filled in confession; loving in nature and inclusive in expression.
The word “inclusive” could be construed in all sorts of sinful meanings. However, his vision of the church is to be a place of entertainment. This is in line with the Popularity Gospel. The vision statement focuses on creating a home for everybody in various buildings where they can express themselves freely. Contrast this with the 1993 vision statement which is before Brian Houston became a known Prosperity Preacher.
The Church that I see is a Church of influence. A Church so large in size that the city and nation cannot ignore it. A Church growing so quickly that buildings struggle to contain the increase.
I see a Church whose heartfelt praise and worship touches Heaven and changes earth; worship which influences the praises of people throughout the earth, exalting Christ with powerful songs of faith and hope.
I see a Church whose altars are constantly filled with repentant sinners responding to Christ’s call to salvation.
Yes, the Church that I see is so dependent on the Holy Spirit that nothing will stop it nor stand against it; a Church whose people are unified, praying and full of God’s Spirit.
The Church that I see has a message so clear that lives are changed forever and potential is fulfilled through the power of His Word; a message beamed to the peoples of the earth through their television screens.
I see a people so Kingdom-minded that they will count whatever the cost and pay whatever the price to see revival sweep this land.
In 21 years, Houston’s vision went from unquestionably biblical to beyond diluted. The similarities are few: large congregations in cities, great music, and a message on television screens. Other than that, the Gospel is nowhere to be found in the vision of Brian Houston’s church.
“Do you know—take it all the way back into the Old Testament—and the Muslim and you, we actually serve the same God. Allah, to a Muslim; to us, Abba Father, God.”
This statement was walked back in a deleted correction and subsequently deleted tweets. With this scrubbing, it’s more clear that Brian Houston was walking back his comment because he got caught (and then seizing an opportunity to silence critics) than actually apologize for a grossly heretical statement. Christianity and Islam do not worship the same god. To assert such is to fundamentally change the nature of god which is unbiblical. Islam traces its roots to the Gnostic heresy, Arab idol worship, Babylonian moon god, and Zoroastrianism. This statement is blasphemous.
Inerrancy and Homosexuality
Brian Houston and by extension Hillsong have been notoriously silent on the issue of homosexuality. Both Brian Houston and the rest of Hillsong, by design of fulfilling the wishes of the Senior Pastor, are completely reticent on homosexuality. There official position is that they believe it is a sin. But the practiced position of Hillsong and Brian Houston is counter. Take Houston’s own words in 2015:
The western world is seemingly moving quickly toward gay marriage being universally legalised, so how does that affect us as a church, and how does it affect the various individual members of Hillsong Church? I believe we can quite comfortably continue to function within that environment, presuming we are not forced through legislation to compromise our own convictions. Gay marriage is already legalised in many places where Hillsong Church exists, and we are functioning well and without impediment.
Everyone is welcome at Hillsong church except for known predators, those who are disruptive, or those who have adversarial agendas.
So if you are gay, are you welcome at Hillsong Church? Of course! You are welcome to attend, worship with us, and participate as a congregation member with the assurance that you are personally included and accepted within our community. But (this is where it gets vexing), can you take an active leadership role? No.
There are two lies here (at least) and one other major ecclesiastical issue. Aside from the naivete that an orthodox church can live comfortable in a country that is embracing homosexuality and transgenderism, Houston did let known predator Frank Houston in and give a message (see above). The major ecclesiastical issue here is that he will allow non-Christians to become members of the church, thereby participating in church leadership. He is wholeheartedly embracing giving membership to unrepentant homosexuals. Thirdly, it is a lie that they do not allow homosexuals in leadership roles.
In early 2015, it was reported that Hillsong’s NYC franchise had a homosexual leading their choir his partner singing in it. They announced their engagement in January. In August, Hillsong released a statement in August. However the homosexual couple denies Brian Houston’s lack of knowledge. Brian Houston, however, is on video in November of 2014 acknowledging at best and bragging at worst about having homosexuals in ministry positions. A full timeline of events can be found here.
In addition to being intentionally ambiguous on the issue, Brian Houston will condemn those preach against homosexuality such as Israel Folau who lost his job for sharing bible verses on social media. Furthermore, homosexual activist groups in Australia have claimed that Hillsong supports homosexuality but is in the closet about it. These allegations are strongly corroborated by the previous evidences presented. And let’s not forget that Frank Houston was a homosexual pedophile.
We find the evidence overwhelming that Brian Houston is a false teacher. The effectiveness of his activity has led many astray into believing that they are saved when they aren’t. With that being said, because many who are faithful assume that Hillsong means music, thereby overlooking doctrinal issues, we cannot comfortably rate him a Category 5. Now, as a reminder, the difference between a Category 4 false teacher and a Category 5 is whether or not we consider the followers of said teacher to be saved. Brian Houston is the epitome of a wolf in sheep’s clothing luring people in with music. For this reason Category 4s are often more dangerous than an outright Category 5.
Updated 06/2020 – This post was originally a page, but the page has been removed in favor of phrasing this evidence compilation as a question for better SEO. In addition, a background section has been added, to more align the format with other verdicts.