18 October 2014

Hillsong's 'Journey' Down the Broad Path

Hillsong Church boasts 12 campuses
Sin is not relative. Sin is sin. Whether today's wishy-washy, postmodern, love-the-one-you're-with culture approves or not, there simply is no gray area when it comes to disobeying and opposing God Almighty and His clear, revealed Word.

Yet, when society stands and whines about the Word, the Christian is not surprised. When unregenerate people want sin to be sin only when it is convenient (i.e., when another's  sin has adversely affected them), it simply is not something worth getting overly upset about. After all, one ought to expect the world to act like the world.. But what about when a so-called, self-proclaimed 'church' refuses to stand firm and unwavering upon the Word of God and what the Lord says about sin?

Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service reports the following in his article 'Hillsong's Brian Houston says church won't take public position on LGBT issue':
At a press conference for the Hillsong Conference in New York City today, Michael Paulson of The New York Times asked Houston to clarify their church’s position on same sex marriage. But Houston would not offer a definitive answer, instead saying that it was “an ongoing conversation” among church leaders and they were “on the journey with it.”

Houston says that he considers three things when evaluating the topic: “There’s the world we live in, there’s the weight we live with, and there’s the word we live by.” 
The priorities of Brian Houston and Hillsong are made abundantly clear in that last sentence. The world trumps the Word.

At First Things, Andrew Walker addresses Houston's comments rather appropriately:
...a non-answer is an answer. Let’s be very clear on that. It’s also a very vapid answer. What we’re seeing in many corners of evangelicalism is a pliability that makes Christianity an obsequious servant to whatever the reigning zeitgeist is. With non-answers like this, it isn’t Jesus who is sitting at the right hand of the Father.

...this isn’t an issue over whether gays and lesbians should or should not be welcomed in church.

...Hillsong thinks itself a contemporary and culturally relevant church. Perhaps it is. But as Christians, we don’t get to define what “relevant” means in terms that are unquestioning of what our culture means by “relevant.” I submit that Hillsong is a church in retreat. A church in retreat doesn’t give answers. It doesn’t storm the gates of Hell. It settles and makes peace where there is no peace (Ezekiel 13:10). A church in exile (and that’s how I’d describe the current placement of confessional evangelicalism) is one that is faithful amidst the culture, regardless of whether that culture looks more like America or more like Babylon. It knows that it may lose the culture, but that it cannot lose the Gospel. So be it.

Indeed, a non-answer is an answer. Joel Osteen illustrates this every time he is confronted with difficult questions about the Bible he claims to teach and believe. Further, Walker is absolutely correct when he says that "this isn't an issue over whether gays and lesbians should or should not be welcomed in church." A true church will welcome those who struggle with same-sex attraction—a true church welcomes those who struggle with all types of sin—but a true church does not allow the sinner to remain comfortable in his sin. A true church does not welcome the sin, but confronts it and convicts it. A true church proclaims the whole counsel of God, exposes sin through the preaching of the Word, and calls sinners to repent, turn from their wickedness, and place their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

Hillsong may be relevant to the culture, but the culture is waning. It is groaning. It is fallen. It is plunging headfirst toward the judgment and wrath of God. Those who claim to serve Christ would better serve Him by proclaiming and pleading with those who are ensnared by this sinful culture to come out of it.

Brian Houston says that Hillsong Church and its leaders are "on a journey" regarding their position on LGBT issues. It is not surprising that this church-in-name-only finds itself wandering in the dark on an issue that has been clearly illuminated by the light of God's Word.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6:9–11)
And so, Hillsong's "journey" will lead them down one of only two paths, because there is no middle way:
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matt 7:13–14)
Further Reading
A Pastor Responds to Desiring God on the Issue of Same-Sex Attraction
Hillsong Church to Expand Empire to Southern California
Desmond Tutu Prefers Hell Over a 'Homophobic' Heaven

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