Israel Houghton is an internationally recognized worship leader, recording artist, songwriter, and producer. He has been in full-time worship ministry since 1989, and he has received multiple Grammy Awards, most recently in 2011 for the album "Love God. Love People." Israel is the founder of New Breed Ministries, comprised of world-class musicians and singers who are all ministers in their respective churches. They travel extensively with a message that crosses cultural, generational, and denominational boundaries. (Online Source)Aside from his international success, Houghton is a worship leader at Joel Osteen's famed Lakewood Church in Texas. When asked by BeliefNet about his relationship with Osteen, Houghton had this to say:
Being a part of Lakewood, being involved with Joel, has been one of those things where it is undeniable that, every time we come together, we are really doing something significant and shaping something.Sadly, it sounds like Houghton has perhaps been given over to the worship of the false idol of a god created by Joel Osteen.
The bulk of the people who have come to Lakewood in the past seven, eight years are not transplants from other churches, but they're people who have been unchurched or have been away from God for a long time, that heard something in his message of compassion and of love, and came back to Christ. And have the lifestyle now, and have the upgrade, so to speak, to prove that God is so good.
And seeing that happen, seeing that in action, which really flies in the face of a lot of theology I was raised in and understood God to be this kind of taskmaster type of God, has really been debunked by the overwhelming sense of God's grace and His love toward his people.
In the same BeliefNet article, Houghton explains how he arrived at recording his album, "A Deeper Level." Like many Word-Faith proponents, he embarked on a 40-day fast. Of course, there is nothing wrong with fasting at all, however the common use of a 40-day fast among this camp is interesting.
How did you receive the message from God that fasting was necessary before recording “A Deeper Level?"
Well, it's not the first project we've done where we included fasting. This one was a lot more intense than past ones. We're attempting to say something to the church. I'm a firm believer that it's impossible to take people to a place where you've not gone for yourself.
You fasted from junk food and the media, and took a deeper look at what you spent your time doing. Which of these presented the most challenges to you?
The first three or four days of a fast can be really uncomfortable. But I actually shared in the book how your taste changes. The things that you find savory or that would have made your mouth water before don't, and you find the good taste and the value in some new things.
I swore off watching the show "24," which was heavy for me, you know? But after a while, I lost interest in that and found new passion and interest in other things, the things of God. I realized, "Man, I'm spending tons of time here, 19 hours in one sitting watching this show. It's ridiculous. I'm going to pace myself from here on out.”
Forty days—biblically speaking—is no arbitrary number. Why do you believe the fast was 40 days?
For me and for us this time around, we said, "Okay, we are going to push ourselves. We're going to do something and make sure we feel it this time." We've done seven-day fasts before. We've done 10-day fasts before. But there is no way to not feel the effects of a 40-day fast.
Do you believe your music has the power to actually heal people?
Well, the hope is that somebody else would answer that positively. In an attempt to remain hopeful and humble, we have seen real evidence of the music bringing healing in people's lives. And our willingness to just back up from the mic and allow God to take over in the form of music has shown itself to be very effective.
So my cautious answer is yes, and my hopeful answer is that we continue to see more of the power of music in worship transforming lives.
(Online Source, emphasis mine)One has to wonder what Houghton means when he talks about backing up from the microphone and allowing "God to take over in the form of music." Without witnessing firsthand what he's speaking about, one can only surmise, but going solely on the quote above, it seems a bit mystical. It certainly doesn't sound like anything spoken of in the Bible. Of course, faith comes by hearing...but it comes by hearing the Word preached (Romans 10:17), not by allowing "God to take over in the form of music." But I suppose we'll have to reserve judgment until we can see what Houghton was actually talking about.
Joel Osteen is not the only prosperity preacher who has the opportunity to benefit from Israel Houghton's name and talent. Last month, he performed at Word-Faith phenom Joyce Meyer's Love Life conference, a conference that he was also invited to the year before, in 2010:
Interesting that he noted that he would have attended Meyer's conference in spite of an invitation to perform. Does that mean that Israel Houghton would have willingly sat under the teaching of a woman who not only opposes the biblical mandates of 1 Timothy 2:12, but who also teaches a false prosperity gospel?
Houghton indeed was busy last month, as he was a guest of Word-Faith teacher and fellow Code Orange speaker Jentezen Franklin back on September 18:
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9)