Controversy over Hillsong
While looking up something unrelated, I came across several YouTube sermons denouncing churches which sing songs by Hillsong. Unfortunately, they were all hour long videos, which I don’t have the patience for. Can anyone tell me what it is about in a shortened version? I’m not well versed in praise music, to be honest. I couldn’t tell you who wrote what, so while I probably recognize some of their songs, I can’t name one of the top of my head.
Rather than going off of what others have said, my husband and I went to the websites of the churches and looked at their “statement of beliefs”. We saw nothing there that said “false”. I believe the anti’s “reasons” are very weak as well. One thing in the video I watched that was a “proof” of one being a false church, I actually believe one could easily find support in Scripture for the practice of the church… it must be a difference in interpretation.
We personally prefer to take each song on its own and judge how doctrinally sound it is. There is one Hillsong song that I am personally uncomfortable with. Overall, it’s a very powerful song and has a really good message, but there’s just a little errancy in it (IMO), that I believe if/when followed in believing, will take one further away from the truth. But that doesn’t mean I throw out all of Hillsong.
Hillsong is an imperfect church. So is Bethel, Elevation, and your church and my church. Chris Tomlin and Casting Crowns attend imperfect churches. So did Charles Wesley and every writer of all the great hymns. Also, each of us almost certainly disagrees theologically in some areas with every one of those people/churches. Honestly, I think all of us will get to heaven and on some points of doctrine say “oh! I totally missed that. I thought it meant something different!”
The large music ministries also deal with a lot of half-truths, comments taken out of context, and even outright lies. For some reason some Christians love to shoot down anyone within own faith who have become popular – it’s almost like a strange sort of pride where some of these critics want to appear more enlightened or sanctified.
When I was in leadership at our former church, we had someone who came to us with concerns over the three groups I mentioned at the beginning. They presented us with a lot of the evidence you’ll find at the top of searches online. We looked into it deeper and realized yes, we have some theological issues with those churches, but not in the essential areas of the gospel. They have all made mistakes, but how those mistakes were presented by some of the critics was often nothing more than a lie.
So we came to following conclusion. If the authors agree with the essentials of the gospel, and if the song is theologically aligned with our beliefs, then we are free to sing it, In the case of Hillsong, they preach the gospel, they worship the same God we do, and they write a good number (not all) of songs that are aligned with our churches worship desires. So we sang them.
LIL I did a small search and found a page that was “boldly” declaring them to be heretical, but all of their argument/examples were pretty weak. One of their gripes was the song “What a beautiful name it is” was, in their words, “theologically wrong” because it said something about God not wanting heaven without us. If that is all they have against a song that declares Jesus’ name to be beautiful, I don’t think they have much against it.
Everything needs to be tested against the Word – a church that is on the right path will not be traveling against God’s Word or Kingdom. That doesn’t mean that a church won’t have their “pet” ideas of what they value more about doctrine than another. One church may privilege this and another may privilege that, and if both are going with the Word, so be it.
Joel Osteen is another example. I’ve watched his show on occasion and to be honest, I’m expecting him to say something I don’t agree with. Often I can find nothing. The man is very positive. Do I think he gives a full and balanced Gospel? No, I don’t think he tells people to count the cost, or that following Jesus may be costly. I agree with him that I think the Lord desires to bless us (He is always working everything for good for those who love Him). I disagree with the notion that God is here to serve us and be our ATM machine, which again, I’m not sure he comes out and says necessarily. I’m not really an expert on him and maybe there is more I don’t know.
In the end, does it produce good fruit? I believe that churches that accept and sign on to outright sin do not produce good fruit. There is a difference between a church that has sin in it and one that says sin is no big deal. One Jesus will rebuke, the other isn’t following Jesus, but something of their own making.
I’ll never find a church that agrees theologically with everything I think the Word says, but I have found many churches that absolutely belong to Him.
Ah ……. Hillsong ……… let me drag out my soapbox.
oh …… we are just talking about the music.
For what it is worth I have two problems with the music. Firstly it is unbelievably light weight (much like the theology) love songy stuff. If you read the lyrics of almost any old hymn out loud you will have something akin to the main points for a sermon – not so with Hillsong. Secondly from a technical perspective most of their songs are anthemic designed for large stadium type gigs. I think worship leaders make the mistake of hearing these songs in their heads the way they are recorded at an event, not the way they sound in a small Church without all the instrumental palaver.
And as an Australian I have a huge problem with what is obviously an enormous company avoiding paying tax by hiding behind its parent Church.
Climbing down from the lowest step of my soap box.
Wow, there must be some kind of surge on this, because we had a lady send a link to my husband and the other pastors about it. It was a 20 minute video… if you want, I will send you the link. I’m personally not going to spread it publicly.
We actually heard the guy in the video talk about it a few years ago, so we had already personally worked through our thoughts and stance on it.
Basically, they believe Bethel (Jesus Culture & Matt Maher are some from there) and Hillsong are “false churches” and to sing their music you are supporting their “false churches” and you are allowing your youth and your sheep to believe in a false Jesus.
ETA: the guy we know who is doing a big push around this, who has his own radio show (I believe it’s radio), is also one who was a part of the group that trashed Beth Moore when it was said that she needed to “go home.”
I’ve never much cared for Hillsong’s P&W music just because it feels like they are trying to create a spiritual response in me through manipulation of my mood with music and their own openly displayed (yet predictable and dare I say choreographed) responses. I don’t like to be manipulated. Had only heard them on the radio (which I would switch off) or through our own ambitious but misguided P&W team’s efforts. (I have a soap box about this too, neilEthere.) I did visit hoosier52’s link.
Re; Joel Osteen, my DH always jokes that you can look at the picture on his book jacket and smell his cologne. (He says that of certain politicians, car salesmen, etc.. You get the idea.) I’ve never read his books or listened to his sermons, but have had the distinct impression he was firmly among the prosperity gospel set. Having had to weather a “No” answer for twelve years and find a way to maintain my faith intact, I have always stayed far away from anyone that implies all my prayers will be answered.
That said, I keep thinking about Mark 9:38-41, where the disciples tried to stop someone from casting out demons because they weren’t part of the group. Jesus said, “Anyone who is not against us is for us.” Of course, it’s followed by verse 42 about what the one who causes the little ones to sin can anticipate, but I think that’s for J.O. and Hillsong to contemplate, maybe.
I can say Hillsong isn’t my favorite music either, but a preference doesn’t equate “false”.
I have come to learn to focus on the presence God. I am standing there to worship Him, in His presence, whether there’s hundreds around me or hardly any. Whether it’s concert like or a solo acoustic guitar. Whether I am in church, my car or in the shower. Whether it’s a favorite song or not my preference. It’s my heart, soul, spirit and mind that sings praises and worships Him, that pleases Him, not the author behind the words I sing.
Many churches are absolute in our regulation of what message our preacher brings to the pulpit every week in that it must be faithful to the Word of God. In this we are like the Bereans of Acts 17:10-12. Yet, we will allow a musician to come in, even by his published music, to proclaim his theology without question. You try and give feedback to a music minister on this and see what happens! And it does not matter if your on the church staff!
The scripture instructs us to sing to the Lord a new song (Ps. 96:1). I appreciate a new song. But not one of those Psalms would ever be accepted in our modern worship service, as they were just 30 years ago, without lots of repetition and dumbing down. Or, without substantial repetition. The context of singing a new song to the Lord is that of the Psalms in which uses the complex Hebrew poetry.
When Martin Luther comes into our church, i.e. we sing A Mighty Fortress is Our God, we accept his theology on this. When a modern singer comes in through his or her music we don’t even stop to think, many of us.
Ok, thanks for your response. I guess I don’t need a 20 minute video to tell me that either! I wasn’t able to find anything specific, besides that they might be linked with the prosperity gospel business and that one of their founders wouldn’t say anything about gay marriage. Other than that, I can’t seem to find anything all that wrong about their beliefs.
I guess we could find something wrong with every composer or song writer. I was just wondering if the actual songs being sung were scripturally wrong, as that would be a real concern.
In case you’re curious, here’s a list of 10 of their more popular songs: