An international charismatic Christian megachurch with its headquarters in Australia is called Hillsong Church, or simply Hillsong.
Brian Houston and his wife Bobbie founded the first church in Baulkham Hills, New South Wales, named Hills Christian Life Centre, in 1983. Hillsong belonged to the Australian Christian Churches until it left the Christian Life Centre (CLC) movement in 2018. (the Australian branch of the Assemblies of God). Hillsong is well-known for its praise music, and artists including Hillsong Worship, Hillsong United, and Hillsong Young & Free have amassed a long list of accomplishments in the music industry.
Although the church and its music have enjoyed tremendous success on a global scale—its presence has been compared to a global corporate brand—a slew of controversies and detractors have damaged the church’s reputation in recent years.
After an internal inquiry revealed that Houston had violated the church’s moral code of conduct for pastors by acting inappropriately toward women on two separate instances in the 2010s, Houston resigned as the worldwide senior pastor in March 2022. Since January 2022, Phil and Lucinda Dooley had been serving in the role of senior global pastors in an acting capacity.
Hillsong’s Scandals: An Explanation of Each
Selena Gomez, Chris Pratt, Kylie and Kendall Jenner, Justin Bieber, and Chris Pratt are just a handful of the well-known individuals who have been observed attending Hillsong sessions. Celebrities were known to flock to the global megachurch in the late 2010s. Although it currently draws 150,000 worshipers each week, since its founding in 1983, it has been involved in a number of scandals.
The three-part Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed Discovery+ documentary series reexamines the church’s complicated background, including the recent failures of co-founder Brian Houston and its most well-known pastor, Carl Lentz.
In the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia, Houston and his wife Bobbie co-founded Hillsong as a branch of his father Frank Houston’s Sydney-based Pentecostal church. Authorities in New South Wales detained Houston in August 2021 on suspicion of covering up child sex offences, claiming that he was aware of the sexual abuse of a young man in the 1970s but neglected to alert authorities to it.
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Given how “open” he has always been about the situation, Houston said that he was astonished by the accusations, and he implied that they had something to do with rumours that his father, Frank, had mistreated a youngster for a number of years in the 1970s. Houston responded, “I passionately profess my innocence and will contest these claims, and I welcome the opportunity to clear the record. In the meantime, Hillsong issued a statement expressing its disappointment at Houston’s charges and requesting that he be given the presumption of innocence and due process.
Houston left his position in the ministry in January 2022, citing the necessity to defend himself against the criminal accusation of covering up his father’s alleged history of child sex abuse. On March 18, Hillsong revealed that Houston had broken the church’s code of conduct by entering the hotel room of an unnamed woman for 40 minutes while intoxicated by alcohol and prescription drugs during the church’s annual conference in 2019.
Houston was also the subject of his own internal investigation at the time. Hillson added that Houston’s departure came as a result of an “inappropriate text message” she sent to a coworker in 2013 that said, “If I were with you, I would like to give you a kiss and a cuddle or a hug.” According to the Christian Post, Hillsong attributed Houston’s conduct to “sleeping medication.”
Houston resigned from Hillsong on March 23. In a letter to The New York Times, the Hillsong board declared, “We acknowledge that change is needed.
Houston sacked Lentz as the head pastor of Hillsong New York City in November 2020, alleging “leadership concerns and breaches of trust, as well as a recent disclosure of moral shortcomings,” before he submitted his resignation. In an Instagram post from 2020, Lentz addressed his firing and admitted to cheating on his wife, Laura.
He accompanied a picture of his family, including Laura and their three kids, Charlie, Ava, and Roman, with, in part, the statement, “I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life, and held accountable for that. I alone am to blame for this failure, and I accept full accountability for my conduct.
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