Hillsong a cult?

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Apr 21, 2020
621
176
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#1
I used to attend a Hillsong Church here in the UK.

As it happens I did their bookkeeping for over a year, therefore I had inside knowledge of how their finances worked.

This was the first Church I had ever attended, but my Christian friends from other Churches warned me about attending a Hillsong Church.
They said that behind the loud music and warm feeling of the Church, was a manipulative Church that preached what is known as the 'prosperity gospel'.

The Church was based on an industrial estate.
On Sundays the building hosted a Church and during the week the Church rented out conference and meeting space.

In the early days of attending this Church I don't think I spotted anything that was alarming, but it did hit me that they pushed the idea of tithing quite hard.
The same phrases or verses were repeatedly used to justify it too:
1. Malachi
2. "God loves a cheerful giver"
3. If you give money to the Church, God will open the floodgates of heaven and bless you so much that you couldn't be blessed any more!

As my knowledge of the Bible developed and my knowledge of how the Church worked behind the scenes grew, I became increasingly frustrated.

I became frustrated with the teaching of the Church.
I found that the Church did preach the false teaching of the 'prosperity gospel'.
Their Sunday services were light on scripture, and were basically a feel-good motivational speech.

The Church was obsessed with raising money.
They held events targeted at members to provide them with an "opportunity" to give.
Such events included something called 'Kingdom Builders', among others.

The Church provided 'acceptance' to those who tithed, especially if they tithed quite a large amount of money.
I think there were at least a few people in the Church who may have been lonely or to some extent isolated outside of Church who tithed in part to gain this kind of 'acceptance'.

I also couldn't reconcile the Church's preaching with what was going on in the background:


1. The congregation would be told that their tithes would be used to spread the message of Jesus.
In reality, money was used to pay the pastor and his wife a good wage (despite his wife doing nothing other than preaching once in a blue moon), pay for the pastor's car, pay for the pastor's utility bills, pay for the pastor's travel, pay for the pastor's rent, etc.

I perhaps should clarify here that I have no problem with anybody, pastors included, earning a living wage. What I do have a problem with however is a Church congregation being told that their money will be spent on spreading the message of Jesus when in reality it is spent on enriching the pastor's life.

I even learned that at least one member of the Church that was close to the pastor had convinced the Church to pay for their utility bills too.

Sometimes during Sunday services I would look around the gathering and wonder how people could be so easily led.
The Church didn't publish a detailed account of expenditure for the year, nor did it hold an annual meeting to vote on a budget.


2. Despite the Church pushing tithing really hard, as well as bringing in money during the week by renting out conference and meeting space, the bank account was almost always negative. Part of the reason for this is because the vast majority of the money that came in was used to enrich the pastor's life, as explained above.
The Church effectively spent money before they got it in, such was the Church's hunger for cash.
In my opinion the pastor didn't actually appreciate it when people gave money to the Church, instead he expected it.


3. Members of the ingroup, some of whom worked at the Church during the week, were each provided with a Church credit card.


4. Looking back, the pastor was metaphorically surrounded by an ingroup whose 'job' it was to bring people round to the Church's was of thinking.
This involved convincing people that their Biblical 'duty' was to give money to the Church.


I'm fortunate in some ways. I'm far from stupid, and I spotted the manipulation a mile off. Because I read the Bible for myself rather than rely on someone else to interpret God's word for me, I was able to spot the false teaching.
Therefore whereas this experience may have negatively impacted other people's faith, my faith was not impacted.

I do think that as Christians we should do more to stand up against these false teachings and manipulative behaviors.
 
Jan 17, 2020
4,792
732
113
#2
I used to attend a Hillsong Church here in the UK.

As it happens I did their bookkeeping for over a year, therefore I had inside knowledge of how their finances worked.

This was the first Church I had ever attended, but my Christian friends from other Churches warned me about attending a Hillsong Church.
They said that behind the loud music and warm feeling of the Church, was a manipulative Church that preached what is known as the 'prosperity gospel'.

The Church was based on an industrial estate.
On Sundays the building hosted a Church and during the week the Church rented out conference and meeting space.

In the early days of attending this Church I don't think I spotted anything that was alarming, but it did hit me that they pushed the idea of tithing quite hard.
The same phrases or verses were repeatedly used to justify it too:
1. Malachi
2. "God loves a cheerful giver"
3. If you give money to the Church, God will open the floodgates of heaven and bless you so much that you couldn't be blessed any more!

As my knowledge of the Bible developed and my knowledge of how the Church worked behind the scenes grew, I became increasingly frustrated.

I became frustrated with the teaching of the Church.
I found that the Church did preach the false teaching of the 'prosperity gospel'.
Their Sunday services were light on scripture, and were basically a feel-good motivational speech.

The Church was obsessed with raising money.
They held events targeted at members to provide them with an "opportunity" to give.
Such events included something called 'Kingdom Builders', among others.

The Church provided 'acceptance' to those who tithed, especially if they tithed quite a large amount of money.
I think there were at least a few people in the Church who may have been lonely or to some extent isolated outside of Church who tithed in part to gain this kind of 'acceptance'.

I also couldn't reconcile the Church's preaching with what was going on in the background:


1. The congregation would be told that their tithes would be used to spread the message of Jesus.
In reality, money was used to pay the pastor and his wife a good wage (despite his wife doing nothing other than preaching once in a blue moon), pay for the pastor's car, pay for the pastor's utility bills, pay for the pastor's travel, pay for the pastor's rent, etc.

I perhaps should clarify here that I have no problem with anybody, pastors included, earning a living wage. What I do have a problem with however is a Church congregation being told that their money will be spent on spreading the message of Jesus when in reality it is spent on enriching the pastor's life.

I even learned that at least one member of the Church that was close to the pastor had convinced the Church to pay for their utility bills too.

Sometimes during Sunday services I would look around the gathering and wonder how people could be so easily led.
The Church didn't publish a detailed account of expenditure for the year, nor did it hold an annual meeting to vote on a budget.


2. Despite the Church pushing tithing really hard, as well as bringing in money during the week by renting out conference and meeting space, the bank account was almost always negative. Part of the reason for this is because the vast majority of the money that came in was used to enrich the pastor's life, as explained above.
The Church effectively spent money before they got it in, such was the Church's hunger for cash.
In my opinion the pastor didn't actually appreciate it when people gave money to the Church, instead he expected it.


3. Members of the ingroup, some of whom worked at the Church during the week, were each provided with a Church credit card.


4. Looking back, the pastor was metaphorically surrounded by an ingroup whose 'job' it was to bring people round to the Church's was of thinking.
This involved convincing people that their Biblical 'duty' was to give money to the Church.


I'm fortunate in some ways. I'm far from stupid, and I spotted the manipulation a mile off. Because I read the Bible for myself rather than rely on someone else to interpret God's word for me, I was able to spot the false teaching.
Therefore whereas this experience may have negatively impacted other people's faith, my faith was not impacted.

I do think that as Christians we should do more to stand up against these false teachings and manipulative behaviors.
It's like I said in another post about tithing. If it bothers my conscience to tithe, I move to a different church. As far as cults, the Ecumenical creeds define historic Christianity in precise terms resulting from intense debates. And churches find unity in them as a common bond. So I adhere to them and avoid churches that do not. And many cults exist today if you measure them by the creeds.
 

Ruby123

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2019
5,621
4,325
113
#3
I don't care much for their teaching but I have to say I do like their music.
 
Apr 21, 2020
621
176
43
#4
I don't care much for their teaching but I have to say I do like their music.
They often use their music as a first stage of attracting people to them.

The second stage is to put down other Churches.
"Church without the boring bits" is the motto.

Unfortunately another apt motto could be
"Church without scripture".
 

MattforJesus

Senior Member
Apr 15, 2017
2,718
572
113
#5
I used to attend a Hillsong Church here in the UK.

As it happens I did their bookkeeping for over a year, therefore I had inside knowledge of how their finances worked.

This was the first Church I had ever attended, but my Christian friends from other Churches warned me about attending a Hillsong Church.
They said that behind the loud music and warm feeling of the Church, was a manipulative Church that preached what is known as the 'prosperity gospel'.

The Church was based on an industrial estate.
On Sundays the building hosted a Church and during the week the Church rented out conference and meeting space.

In the early days of attending this Church I don't think I spotted anything that was alarming, but it did hit me that they pushed the idea of tithing quite hard.
The same phrases or verses were repeatedly used to justify it too:
1. Malachi
2. "God loves a cheerful giver"
3. If you give money to the Church, God will open the floodgates of heaven and bless you so much that you couldn't be blessed any more!

As my knowledge of the Bible developed and my knowledge of how the Church worked behind the scenes grew, I became increasingly frustrated.

I became frustrated with the teaching of the Church.
I found that the Church did preach the false teaching of the 'prosperity gospel'.
Their Sunday services were light on scripture, and were basically a feel-good motivational speech.

The Church was obsessed with raising money.
They held events targeted at members to provide them with an "opportunity" to give.
Such events included something called 'Kingdom Builders', among others.

The Church provided 'acceptance' to those who tithed, especially if they tithed quite a large amount of money.
I think there were at least a few people in the Church who may have been lonely or to some extent isolated outside of Church who tithed in part to gain this kind of 'acceptance'.

I also couldn't reconcile the Church's preaching with what was going on in the background:


1. The congregation would be told that their tithes would be used to spread the message of Jesus.
In reality, money was used to pay the pastor and his wife a good wage (despite his wife doing nothing other than preaching once in a blue moon), pay for the pastor's car, pay for the pastor's utility bills, pay for the pastor's travel, pay for the pastor's rent, etc.

I perhaps should clarify here that I have no problem with anybody, pastors included, earning a living wage. What I do have a problem with however is a Church congregation being told that their money will be spent on spreading the message of Jesus when in reality it is spent on enriching the pastor's life.

I even learned that at least one member of the Church that was close to the pastor had convinced the Church to pay for their utility bills too.

Sometimes during Sunday services I would look around the gathering and wonder how people could be so easily led.
The Church didn't publish a detailed account of expenditure for the year, nor did it hold an annual meeting to vote on a budget.


2. Despite the Church pushing tithing really hard, as well as bringing in money during the week by renting out conference and meeting space, the bank account was almost always negative. Part of the reason for this is because the vast majority of the money that came in was used to enrich the pastor's life, as explained above.
The Church effectively spent money before they got it in, such was the Church's hunger for cash.
In my opinion the pastor didn't actually appreciate it when people gave money to the Church, instead he expected it.


3. Members of the ingroup, some of whom worked at the Church during the week, were each provided with a Church credit card.


4. Looking back, the pastor was metaphorically surrounded by an ingroup whose 'job' it was to bring people round to the Church's was of thinking.
This involved convincing people that their Biblical 'duty' was to give money to the Church.


I'm fortunate in some ways. I'm far from stupid, and I spotted the manipulation a mile off. Because I read the Bible for myself rather than rely on someone else to interpret God's word for me, I was able to spot the false teaching.
Therefore whereas this experience may have negatively impacted other people's faith, my faith was not impacted.

I do think that as Christians we should do more to stand up against these false teachings and manipulative behaviors.
Hillsong church reminds me of a worldly church.

2Pe 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

2Pe 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

2Pe 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

Some preachers are interested in trying to get money from the saints for their wants to enjoy a lavish lifestyle provided by the saints.

1Ti 3:3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous.

1Ti 3:8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre.

The ministers are not to be in the ministry for money, and not be covetous.

2Co 8:14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:

2Co 8:15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

God wants equality among the saints to all prosper on the same level, so the ministers are not blessed more than the rest of the saints, although some ministers will try to convince the congregation they get more.

Act 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

Act 4:34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

Act 4:35 And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

The early Church sold all they had that was not a necessity, and the apostles distributed the money to the saints that had need, and they shared everything, and none of them lacked their needs for they made sure all the saints were fed and clothed having their needs met.

Act 20:33 I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.

Act 20:34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.

Act 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Paul did not covet anything from the saints, but labored with his own hands to provide his needs, and for those with him.

And as an example to the saints to labor themselves to provide their needs, and to support the weak that had needs.

The Church should provide for the needs of a minister if it takes a lot of their time to where they do not have time for a job because they are so involved with the work of God, but they should only provide their needs.

Paul said to support the weak that have needs, not give money to the minsters who are living above their needs going by their wants, and the preacher does not get more than the rest of the saints.

The money that goes to the Church is supposed to be all for the needs of the saints, and any money that is needed for the furthering of the kingdom of God, and the minister or any other saint is not to use that money for their wants.

If they want their wants above their needs they better get it somewhere else for all people will be accountable if they made it a habit to use the money for the kingdom of God for their own personal gain.

1Ti 6:3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;

1Ti 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

1Ti 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

1Ti 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

1Ti 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

1Ti 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Paul said that if any person teaches that God blesses the saints with monetary gain above their needs, from such withdraw yourselves, having food and clothing be content.

For the love of money is the root of all evil, for it neglects the poor and needy.
 
Apr 3, 2019
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768
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#6
I used to attend a Hillsong Church here in the UK.

As it happens I did their bookkeeping for over a year, therefore I had inside knowledge of how their finances worked..
Did they "cook" the books? Anything fishy in handling the "cash"?
 
Apr 21, 2020
621
176
43
#8
Did they "cook" the books? Anything fishy in handling the "cash"?
I meant to say in my previous response to you:

As I said in the original post, the 'Church' was basically a money-spinner for the pastor and his wife, although this was not widely known by the congregation.
The 'Church' was very light on biblical teaching and Sunday services basically served as a weekly feel good motivational speech.
 
Apr 5, 2020
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#9
Never been a member nor have I ever attended any service connected to Hillsong. With that said, I always had the feeling that Brian Huston was a late comer to God. Meaning, his first part of his life he was not a Believer and was a good ole sinner (like us all were at one time). And as a newcomer to God, I think many interpretations were personal, not spiritual. And as a newcomer to God, it's not hard to figure out what works for financial support. With that being said, I really don't know if that sect/organization is an actual cult, or if they are still in the ironing out phase. But I do know one thing I would be against, putting other churches. I know Paul spoke several times on those claiming to be Apostles who were really false teachers. But that was more against the person, not the entire congregation.