Charisma Highlights: How Do We Respond to the Hillsong Scandal?

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Marti Pieper

Hillsong co-founder Brian Houston

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Hillsong has been the most popular name in Christian worship for more than two decades, and the Hillsong network of churches has planted congregations in 30 countries since it was founded in 1983 in Australia. Its global membership is estimated at 150,000. But a series of scandals has rocked the movement in the last two years, prompting founder Brian Houston to resign last week amid charges of sexual impropriety and an alleged coverup.

The tarnishing of the Hillsong brand began two years ago, during the height of the pandemic, when Carl Lenz, celebrity pastor of Hillsong’s church in New York City, was fired in November 2020 after it came to light that he had engaged in an extramarital affair.

Then last week, a documentary called Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed, was released by Discovery Plus. The three-part film claims that the church not only mishandled accusations of sexual misconduct but exploited young ministry interns for cheap labor. In the film, former members of Hillsong share stories of feeling betrayed, manipulated or abused by church leaders, and the word “cult” is sometimes thrown around to describe the Pentecostal church.

Shaking the Unshakable

“I am God and there is no other. I am the Alpha and Omega. I am the Creator of what is seen and unseen. The earth is My footstool. Do you think the redemption of your nation is really too difficult for Me, My children? I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I am the God of Israel. I am the God who sent My Son, Yeshua, to the earth; and the Word became flesh because I so love the world.

“I am the God who defies the laws of nature, who defies the laws of physics. I am the God who shakes governments. I am the God who knocks down podiums of those who are speaking blasphemies against My kingdom.

“I am the God who shakes what people think is unshakable,” says the Lord thy God. “And I am the God, in this hour, who is going to begin to break up and to till and to ‘swell’ their wicked plans. A swell of their own making shall come upon them in this hour—a wave of their own making that they’ve been making for a long time. And their cup of iniquities has become full, and in this hour, you will see Me pour them out.

American Idol judge Katy Perry—who was raised by evangelist parents—mocked the Christian parents of a 21-year-old contestant, asking him what “Satan music” he would be singing on the show.

It started after Perry asked Israel McFarland about his “interesting” name.

Perry, 37, then jokingly urged the Idol contestant to rebel against his parents by following in her footsteps, referring to her song, “I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It.” She told McFarland to make a male version of the song, “I Kissed a Boy and I Liked It.”

I do not write this article to throw stones. I write it to save lives.

That’s why I make this heartfelt (and anguished) plea: If you are a pastor or ministry leader and you believe that, according to the Bible, you have the liberty to drink alcohol (without drunkenness), please don’t turn that liberty into a public boast, as in, “Look at how free I am!”

You can enjoy that freedom before God, with moderation and discipline. But please don’t bash those who practice total abstinence. And please don’t use your liberty as a club against legalism. Or as a proof of your spiritual maturity. Or as a demonstration of the gospel of grace.

According to a CBN News report, Ukrainians are telling stories of divine intervention as the Russian invasion continues.

These reports are in line with a prophetic word I released just before war broke out in Europe, urging intercessors to pray. God said He would show up and show out.

On today’s episode, we are going to report some of the miracles happening in Ukraine, and let the prophetic word I released on the eve of war encourage us to continue praying. {eoa}

Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.

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