The Dangerous Cult of Hillsong

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With familiar tunes and upbeat rhythms filling the sanctuaries in churches everywhere, Hillsong is by far the most popular producer of mainstream Christian music in the world. They mass produce music from their multi-campus world-wide bands under the labels Hillsong United, Hillsong Worship, and Hillsong Young & Free, which are then sold for untold millions to unsuspecting worshipers and leaders who are willing to pony up for their product. What the vast majority of people are unaware of, however, is the dangerous cult-like tactics Hillsong uses to lure them into a loyal following.

Hillsong Church was founded in 1993 by Brian Houston and his wife, Bobbie, in Sydney, Australia and has now expanded to 23 countries worldwide. Hillsong holds dozens of conferences every year at its many locations and even owns and operates its own college of ministry. All of its locations are under the total and sole control of Brian Houston out of its headquarters in Sydney, Australia. None of its campuses are autonomous or free.

Christine Caine, Be Silent

Hillsong Church is deep into the social justice movement — a distraction from the Church’s Great Commission of making disciples. Through its many programs, like CityCare, Because We Can, and Colour Sisterhood, there is a strong priority for charity works that emphasize things such as economic equality and other social issues and place little, if any emphasis on the gospel.

Hillsong is a charismatic Church that teaches the continuation of the apostolic sign gifts. These include things such as prophesying, speaking in tongues, and healing. While the regular manifestation of these particular practices at Hillsong is insignificant, one teaching that comes out of Hillsong is extremely dangerous — the prosperity gospel.

Hillsong is one of the premier promulgators of this popular false gospel. Al Mohler of the Southern Baptist Convention labeled Hillsong as “a prosperity movement for the millennials,” which has “[minimized] of the actual content of the Gospel.” Hillsong’s seductive doctrine comes out in every sermon and much of its music. While not all of its music rises to the level of heresy, much of it places its emphasis on carnal ideas of man. One song, What A Beautiful Name it Is, teaches that the reason God saves sinners is that “He didn’t want Heaven without us.” Cameron Buettell of Grace to You writes,

That’s a nice sentiment, but it’s not remotely biblical. In fact, it’s doctrinal malpractice by people who should know better.

In reality, they don’t know better. This is the doctrine of Hillsong — it is all about man becoming like God. In fact, one of the main tenets of prosperity theology is “little-god” theology which teaches that we, as “little gods,” have the kind of power that God has to create by speaking things into existence. Brian Houston’s teaching on this comes out clearly in his two books, Live Love Lead and There Is More: When the World Says You Can’t, God Says You Can.

But the most dangerous aspect of Hillsong and their cultish operations are their mass appeal to the carnal desires of the flesh. Jesus said,

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If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

John 15:18-19

This is a huge problem. The reason the world hates the Church is that the Church stands as a witness to both the current and the coming wrath and judgment of God upon sin. The world loves sin and rebels against God, but the true Church loves God and loves the truth. Hillsong Church does not gather a massive following from the world because they preach the true, unadulterated gospel. They may give lip-service to the Scriptures and Jesus, but it is largely used as a means to benefit the carnal needs and desires of their selves. God is used as a means to provide temporal relief from afflictions in this life instead of a means to lay down one’s life to glorify God. And it plays on one of the most seductive tools of Satan to distract people from God — entertainment.

The Hillsong cult attracts people through entertainment and keeps them there by their addiction. They have it down to an exact science. They know what sells and they know what keeps customers. Whether it be their watered-down music, their nuanced affirmation of homosexuals, that they hold Roman Catholic masses, that they produce sleazy renditions of Silent Night during Christmas or pose a nearly naked man on stage at a women’s conference, that they defend abortion and complain about the death penalty, or that celebrities love them because they “don’t teach that book with Moses and stuff,” one thing is for sure, they know what the world opposed to God likes.

So Hillsong Church is a dangerous cult that follows the personality of its leader, Brian Houston. If your church uses their music for worship, even if the lyrics in the songs they use are doctrinally sound, there is a great danger of leading people astray and you may be placing young men and women at risk. Hillsong should be avoided by Bible-believing Christians and pastors should not be feeding their flock to these wolves.

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24 Comments

    • Absurd in what way? This is a very well researched article and one that should be read by all Christians. Hillsong is a dangerous place.

    • whats absurd is how hillsong, chrasmatics, pentecostals, continually claim to have spiritual gifts? If God were a genie and he said upu have one wish for a gift? Do you really think I would wish to talk like retarded person on coke? I believe in Christ, the death and ressurection . the sanctification of all men through faith. I do not believe Christ died so he could collect money like these vultures. GET REAL!

      • Retarded? What decade are you living in where you use such offensive words. Yes Jesus obviously has a loving compassionate and inclusive affect on you doesn’t he?

    • I know right. People who love jesus living in the 21st century with modern thinking that has moved on from the fire and brimstone of a 2000 year old thought process. People bringing Jesus to the younger generation with joy and music. Having a strong priority for charity work that emphasize things such as economic equality and other social issues. God Forbid they should be so inclusive.
      It is not for anyone to judge, that is Gods job. If you think them so evil then remember your Bible.

      Matthew 5:43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’s and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?

  1. I’m disappointed in this article. Pitting Christians against Christians.Not even holding them accountable but attacking and wrongfully accusing them. The comment of the lyric, “He didn’t want Heaven without us”. Why do you think he sent Jesus? So we could go to Heaven. I think this article forgets how loving of a God we have.

    • I do approve this article. Facing Christians against Christians in name only. Holding them accountable rightfully for what they have said. Jesus was sent to us so we COULD (not shall) go to heaven ,IF. We all have to find out for ourselfs what that IF means. I think this article reminds us that God IS love,He hates sin ,but loves the siner.

    • Um… Kaela, are you serious? It isn’t them pitting Christians against Christians. It is truth pitting Christians against “Christians.” Or should we cut Jude out of the BIble?

    • wrong! this is pitting christians against false and fake teachers. Hillsong and all fo the faith movement are disgusting human beings. They are not christians. Simple test for any christian. Quote the the ten commandments! 99 % of self proclaimed christains cant! that would be you too Kaela

      • I can quote the 10 commandments, and I can also say most ‘Christians’ don’t follow them. Most pick and choose to suit themselves. The Bible however isn’t to be taken literally, even though again people like to cherry pick what suits them to condemn others. Not a very Christian attitude to take.

  2. This article makes for interesting reading. I started attending Hillsong in Australia a couple of years ago, and have grown up in church since young with a Baptist background. I love and respect the Old Testament and the New Testament equally. From experiences with church in general, the overall observation is that no human-run organisation is perfect. We’re imperfect people trying to reflect Christ as best as possible. I’m not excusing bad judgement calls by the church as a whole. We are all going through a lifelong process, and I have made mistakes in my walk with Christ too.

    However, I beg to differ in regards to some of the points you made. Hillsong is not a cult. Many of the social justice outreach programs are not distractions but form an avenue straight into the Great Commission. People are often softened towards the Gospel when we serve them and meet their needs with compassion. Also, Hillsong has been a place that has challenged me to lay down my life and time for Christ. God has not been portrayed to me in this church as a means to alleviate temporal suffering, but as the One who meets me in my suffering and walks with me through it. It is not a question of running from suffering, but having the right attitude towards suffering. Many media sources are quick to point out flaws, but tend to overlook the fact that there are many people within Hillsong who genuinely love God, fear and obey him, and hold fast to the truth. Hillsong didn’t attract me because of its entertainment. I chose to attend Hillsong because the church, however imperfect, has a genuine heart for God and His kingdom.

    • I love your reply Joh; it shows maturity, and if that’s what this church helped you to become, it is a good church. It’s just the opposite of the hate that these “Christian” critics show in their comments

  3. Is this article cruel satire?. I don’t go to hillsong anymore but so many false assertions here. The best part of this article is the pure ignorance and hypocrisy of the writer. The writer is mad that women get to control their own bodies and have abortions (presumably because he has been brain washed to believe that terminating an embryo is actually somehow a living baby being killed) then immediately says he’s mad how they oppose the death penalty. Lmfao the author doesn’t give a fuck about lives nor killing. Furthermore part of the reason I don’t go to hillsong anymore is because they brazenly Ignorantly and hatfully condemn a woman’s right to choose from the pulpit.

    • Lol, what a false-Christian mate.
      Do the world a favor and don’t claim to be of Jesus while your swearing like a brain-dead zombie & supporting the murder of babies.

    • Because they are a living baby. Do you believe as the Chinese do that the spirit of man is not in the baby until it is 1 year old? At what point does a baby become a living breathing human?

  4. .
    How is the lyric… ” You didn’t want Heaven without us”, a False teaching ?
    .
    You may be wrong on this one.
    It seems to be Biblical to me that God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us on the cross because He didn’t want Heaven without us.
    .
    Hill Song may be False Teachers,
    but your logic is flawed and your arguement
    is not valid on this specific statement.
    .
    .
    .

  5. This sentence pulled from this article strikes me as potentially ambiguous; it seems a reader could understand its intended meaning, or get confused by a diametrically contrary meaning:

    (Original:) “Hillsong Church does not gather a massive following from the world because they preach the true, unadulterated gospel.”

    Somebody might, in their head, misplace a simple comma, and come away with this:

    “Hillsong Church does not gather a massive following from the world, because they preach the true unadulterated gospel.”

    Do you see the difference..?

  6. I’m a fan of Hillsong Music while still keeping an open mind about their doctrine. I am skeptical of all large organizations and think often the more man is involved the less God is. That said you made me laugh A LOT! Here is why. Your last two paragraphs were wonderful. Here they are:

    “But the most dangerous aspect of Hillsong and their cultish operations are their mass appeal to the carnal desires of the flesh. Jesus said,

    By the way, did you know Reformation Charlotte has a Christian gear and apparel store? Check it out at ReformedGear.com.”

    But aren’t you doing the EXACT SAME THING here as what you are accusing Hillsong of doing??? WOW FUNNY!

  7. Everything you said is spot on, I can see in the other comments the backlash but it is only becase man love darkness.
    Extremely well put and very helpful. Nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to build megachurches that in itself disqualifies Hillsong, Elevation, and Bethel.

    Post tenebras lux
    Soli Deo gloria

  8. I left the Christian church 40 years ago because I noticed how Christians were not even trying to follow the Gospels. The few people I knew who were trying to follow Jesus message left the church for this very reason.

    There’s so many passages from the gospel I could quote hear showing that this article is so anti-Jesus it is pathetic.

    For one thing it is very judging. Jesus spoke out of against this for a very good reason: you cannot be happy and judgement at the same time. And you cannot be in tune with God at the same time you’re judging either.

    Jesus also said a good tree bears good fruit or you will know a tree by the fruit it bears. Unfortunately Christians don’t seem to get this. This group is producing beautiful music and is taking care of it’s fellow humans. That’s good fruit and according to Jesus it’s also good and that’s good enough for me.

    It is so typical for Christians to be hateful. What right do you think you have for arrogantly claiming a path to God when you so flagrantly violating Jesus teachings?

  9. Goodness! I AGREE with you about Hillsong, but don’t make nonsensical arguments or you’ll convince others that YOU’RE the heretic!!

    “You didn’t want Heaven without us” is unbiblical???!!! Come on, now! Smarten up or you’ll blow your credibility!

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