Hillsong Churches: Why so many scandals?

Welcome back to Defenders Voice. This is Dr.Paul. Thank you for joining us today. Defenders Voice is about defending the great truths of Christian faith against the challenges of our time. Please visit our web site http://www.doctor paul.org. There you can subscribe to our podcast. I take your questions and answer them in the coming episodes. You can send your questions to info@doctorpaul.org. Today’s question is, Hillsong Churches: Why so many scandals? 

           That is a very important question. Whenever I hear the word, I think of a scandal. Whenever I hear the word Hillsong, what is the new scandal? What now? What happened? Hardly a week goes by without a Hillsong pastor doing some scandalous thing somewhere around the world. Lead Pastors cheating on their wives, youth pastors sending explicit photos to women, church leaders assaulting young women under the influence of alcohol, sunday school teachers watching pornography, music directors declaring that they no longer believe in God, ministry leaders living a lavish lifestyle on people’s tithes, etc. This whole Hillsong phenomenon is a big mess. 

Last week, Justin Bieber lashed out, ‘these pastors are filthy’. If someone like Justin Bieber spits on you,boy, that is not good, you can imagine how low you fell down! 

    Australia’s gift to the world: a scandal-ridden church which became an embarrassment for all Christians. Australia gave us godly men also like Ken Ham, the architect of the great Creation Museum and Noah’s Ark. So, not everything from Australia is bad. 

    First, we should ask, what should a Christian church look like? How should a Christian leader live? We should look at the New Testament. In the Book of Acts, we see the apostles traveling, preaching the gospel and establishing new churches. The apostles were supported by believers but we also see apostles working to make a living. The apostles practiced abstinence and moderation. 

     Certain things are not allowed for a Christian: that is abstinence.  Read Abstain from all appearance of evil.

 Abstain from all appearance of evil. 

                                     1 Thessalonians 5:22.  

Then the temperance. Read 1 Corinthians 9:25 

And every man that striveth for mastery

 is temperate in all things. 

Now they do it to obtain a

 corruptible crown; but we

 an incorruptible

           1 Corinthians 9:25

Apostle Paul writes about the importance of temperance in the lives of Christians. 

    A soldier should learn temperance. A sportsman should have temperance. Otherwise they will never achieve mastery over their craft. They are going for a corruptible crown but we are going for incorruptible crowns. A soldier learns temperance. He or she says, ‘I cannot do this. If I do, I will be discharged from the military. A dishonorable discharge is worse than not going to the military at all’. A sportsman learns temperance. ‘I have a game tomorrow, I can’t drink’. If he does not practice temperance, he will be discharged from the team. So we should practice temperance for the sake of the kingdom of God. 

     Billy Graham had temperance. Mike Pence has temperance. Franklin Graham has temperance. Carl Lentz had no temperance. Bill Hybel had no temperance. Ted Haggard had no temperance. Jerry Falwell Jr had no temperance. Jimmy Swaggert had no temperance. They had great ministries, but due to lack of temperance, they engaged in self-destructive behavior. 

     Recently an American woman went to Australia. She was attending a Hillsong church. One day she went to a meeting of the Hillsong church leadership. The church leaders were all drinking alcohol. One of the church leaders drank so much alcohol that he got intoxicated, and assaulted this young Christian woman. Church were having an alcohol party. Oh boy, welcome to 21st century Christianity. Church leaders drinking alcohol is not right. 

    When I read about this news, the words of Gandhi flashed in my mind. Gandhi once said, “”I like your Christ, but not your Christianity.” I’d be a Christian if it were not for the Christians.’ He complained that Christians are all about beer and beef. He did not see moderation among most Christians. He did not see temperance among most Christians. Gandhi used to have a great friend named C.F.Andrews. Gandhi called him Christ’s Faithful Apostle because C.F.Andrews took Christ’s teachings seriously. He was called Deenabandhu, the friend of the poor. He came from England. He spent his life helping the poor. He worked to stop alcoholism in India. 

     A few generations ago, Christians started a temperance movement, Christian women would stand in front of bars and sing Christian hymns. Many alcoholics stopped drinking and Alcoholic Anonymous was born. That was then, now we are serving alcohol right in our churches. We should stop this bad habit. No pastor should drink alcohol. 

   Recently a Hillsong volunteer left the church. She said, ‘I left because I felt like my free labor is being exploited. I have to babysit while the pastor goes on spending lavishly on his luxuries like a thousand dollars a night Airbnb, designer clothes, shopping in Paris and jewelry.’ 

   Apostle Peter wrote in his first epistle: 

Partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 1 Peter 5:1-4

    Look how Apostle Peter defines a pastor. A pastor is the shepherd. He should be an example to the flock. He should know every sheep in his congregation. Many of these pastors are obsessed with megachurches. In a megachurch, how many people would you know personally? How many people can you minister to? It’s all pride of life. Have a small congregation where you can take care of the needs of individual believers. 

   Then, Apostle Peter says the pastor or anyone in the ministry should not be there for shameful gain. Hillsong pastors are leading such lavish lifestyles because it is not their money they worked for. If you work hard, you will learn to value that money. 

I attend a church with a very nice pastor. One day I was in my medical office. This pastor came to my office. I asked him, ‘hello pastor, how are you?, what brought you to my office’. He said, ‘I need a DOT physical’. DOT physicals are for truck drivers. I asked him, ‘You are a pastor. Why do you need a DOT physical?’. The pastor said, ‘I am also a truck driver’. He is our pastor and also a part-time truck driver. Every pastor should be like that. He should work part-time to understand the value of money. 

    Work also fosters holiness. David lusted after Uriah’s wife Bethsheba when he did not go to war. Uriah went to war, David stayed home and lusted after his wife. We have a saying, ‘An idle mind is the devil’s playground’. When you are idle, your mind becomes the devil’s playground. When you are lazy, Satan finds easy access into your life. 

   Work also makes you value the money you earn. In my medical office, my consultation fee is $90 dollars. Sometimes I have patients who say, ‘I can’t afford it’. I ask them, ‘Every doctor in the town charges $120. I gave you the lowest price in the town’. They say, ‘I can’t even afford $90’. I go down on my price. $60 dollars? $30 dollars? Sometimes I provide free service. I came to Belleville today. This is a beautiful small town in the center of Pennsylvania. You can see the cows grazing on the green pastures. God takes care of these beautiful animals. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. When I see these cows, I think of what Psalmist wrote in Psalm 104:14, 

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle

                 Psalm 104:14

Majority of people in this town are the Amish. I went to an Amish home. I bought some brown eggs. They sold me 7 dozen brown eggs for 10 dollars. I could not believe it. A whole month supply of natural, organic brown eggs for just 10 dollars. The Amish are able to do this because they live a simple life of contentment. Amish pastors live simple lives. Our modern pastors should learn from Amish pastors. I don’t mean you should ride horse buggies like the Amish do here. What I mean is the shepherd should live like the sheep. He should not make the sheep  do all his dirty work while he is shopping in Paris. 

    When the Amish pay me for my services, I think of their hard work.  When I go on a vacation, I value that money because someone worked hard to pay me that money, I worked hard for that money. 

    I often see Hillsong pastors in swimming pools drinking martinis. That conveys a spirit of laziness. Church leaders should work part-time to understand the financial struggles of ordinary folks. 

We read in Acts chapter 20. Apostle Paul says, 

I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ 

                            Acts 20 :31-35

   When he was not traveling, Apostle Paul worked and took care of his needs and the needs of his companions. He says, I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. Many pastors lost control over their covetousness. 

   Another reason is they lost the concept of sin. Pastor Darnell Barrett of Hillsong Church resigned this Tuesday because he was sharing explicit photos to a woman. What kind of pastors do we have? They are sending explicit photos to women in their congregation. He said, ‘it is a mistake’. 

Is it a mistake? It is not a ‘mistake’. It is a sin.  That’s another big problem. Many pastors changed the vocabulary in our time. They changed many sins into normal behaviors and mistakes at the most. Oh, I am caught, so it’s a mistake. It’s not a sin anymore. We sit in the pew, listen to their sermons and lose the doctrine of sin. We become like them, we see sins as mistakes. 

     To summarize, why so many scandals at Hillsong churches? Their pastors do not practice abstinence and temperance,  and they lost the doctrine of sin. Hope that helps. 

Ok, folks. That’s all for today. Share your comments, like this video, and subscribe to our channel. 

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