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.

    Fell out of ... Asked on February 24, 2020 in None of The Above.
    Add Comment
    20 Answer(s)
      Best answer

      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.

      Under the stars Answered on February 24, 2020.

      We personally prefer to take each song on its own and judge how doctrinally sound it is.

      I think this is wise.  Too often someone wants to say some group is entirely good or entirely bad when neither is true.  That isn’t to say that there aren’t some groups that are actively trying to deceive, there are, but they usually stick out as all of their things will be bad news.

      on February 24, 2020.
      Add Comment

        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.

        Queen bed Answered on February 26, 2020.
        Add Comment

          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.

          California King Answered on February 24, 2020.

          I agree with you. It’s funny, we have been having similar conversations of Joel O. in our home lately…actually my husband is talking and I am listening. He has had someone share several of his messages with him, and when he listened to them, he heard nothing that he would disagree with. Of course we are pretty slow to judge other Christians, especially leaders.

          on February 24, 2020.

          Thanks, sd595. I couldn’t find anything that pinpointed the exact problem with their actual songs. I agree that we need to be vigilant in checking everything against the Word.

          Seeking, I have had 2 people recently mention how uplifted they were by an Osteen message. I sort of scratched my head, but held my tongue, as I’ve only read negative things, but never listened to him myself.

          on February 24, 2020.

          There is a lot of information on Mr. Osteen & his theology  that would give you sufficient understanding of who he is and what he preaches from his interviews way back with Larry King Live.  He has said that there is another way to God apart from Christ for the Muslims.  

          As to his sermons, he misinterprets the Law and its application to the believer.  He does not preach against sin.  He advocates health, wealth and prosperity.

          on February 25, 2020.
          Add Comment

            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.

            Queen bed Answered on February 24, 2020.

            Thanks, Neil. I appreciate hearing from someone closer to their origins. There are pros and cons to that style of music. I love many old hymns, but there are also plenty that you just can’t sing to without sounding like a robot running low on batteries.

            on February 24, 2020.

            I agree. It’s just a corporate enterprise to enrich their Pastor, Brian Houston, who is a health, wealth and prosperity gospel preacher like Joel Osteen. Two peas in a pod.  G’day, Mate!


            on February 24, 2020.

            The line I love from the prosperity preachers is ‘I donate my entire salary back to the Church’ which is pretty easy when 1) book sales to your devotees 2) you are part of the international prosperity gospel travelling circus and rake in millions every time you fly out of the country 3) (applies to Bobbie Houston) you have a ‘special gift’ for designing album covers so every time someone buys a Hillsong album  you get a percentage of the sale – even if the sale is online, you still contribute to the advertising.

            on February 24, 2020.
            Add Comment

              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.”  

              Under the stars Answered on February 24, 2020.

              Ugh, yeah, the internet and YT are full of these kind of people who bash and run and basically aren’t held accountable for what they say.

              on February 24, 2020.
              Add Comment

                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.

                Under the stars Answered on February 25, 2020.
                Add Comment

                  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.

                  Under the stars Answered on February 25, 2020.

                  Yes! Well said, SC!

                  on February 25, 2020.
                  Add Comment

                    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.

                    Blanket on a secluded beach! Answered on February 25, 2020.

                    I was taught some things to consider when evaluating church music:

                    (1) Are the words scriptural?

                    (2) Is it melodious music or rock music (Eph. 5:19). Rock music (beat) appeals to the flesh. Melodious music appeals to the spirit.

                    (3) What is the life and theology of the writer like?

                    (4) What fruit does it produce in the listeners?

                    on February 25, 2020.

                    Wow on #2  😕  every time I hear or deal with that stance, I see the contrast between old covenant thinking and new covenant thinking.

                    on February 25, 2020.

                    Not judging what anyone else has faith in, but I see a lot of young people Spiritually moved by rock style music, enough so that I think it is just a different style.  I can appreciate both, and have at many times been preparing for worship where music of all styles took me from where I was to the place I needed to be for worship.  I can certainly appreciate the complexity and depth of hymns, and at the same time I can appreciate the feeling and passion of other music as well.

                    on February 25, 2020.

                    Yeah, number 2, nup. Elvis Presley and his swinging hips though, better film him from the chest up.

                    on February 25, 2020.

                    #3 would cause some to stop singing Mighty Fortress as Luther is believed to have been anti-Semitic.

                    That’s the issue I see with Hillsong. Where do we draw the line between song and writer?

                    on February 25, 2020.

                    Seeking: Help me to understand. Are you saying that God has one music standard for the OT saints and another for NT saints?


                    on February 25, 2020.

                    Luther is not the sum total of some comments about Jewish rejection of the Messiah.  In Philippians 3:2 Paul calls the false teachers, likely Jewish rabbis/Pharisees the false circumcision.  Was this an anti-Semitic statement?  I think so, and I would not even think of rejecting Paul’s written Word of God.  Luther is instrumental in leading the church back to the Scripture, i.e. the Reformation.

                    I would not toss out a singer’s song by a few casual words.  But by the sin of unbelief I would.

                    on February 25, 2020.

                    @Hoosier, where do you see that God has a musical standard, particularly with certain beats?  From Jesus Himself, and under the new covenant, it seems pretty clear to me that it’s about the heart, the faith, and grace.

                    on February 27, 2020.

                    These verses imply that Godly music emphasizes the melody, not the harmony  or rhythm in His music.

                    Ephesians 5:19  – Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making MELODY in your heart to the Lord;

                    Isaiah 23:16  – Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet MELODY, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered.

                    Isaiah 51:3  – For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of MELODY.

                    Also, I find no Bible version of modern drum sets being used in Temple worship. Throughout history we do see drums dominating pagan music. I have a friend who grew up in the Congo. That’s all they heard coming from the villages at night as they exposed themselves to demonism.

                    The rock beat is an off beat which has a negative influence on our ability to think. It even affects us physically, weakening the body. Dr. David Diamond, and unsaved Jew, wrote about this years ago. His studies showed the worker productivity went down when rock music was played and it went up when classical music was played.  Our bodies are God’s Temple and I can’t believe that He would want us to expose ourselves to that type of music whether its in the jungle or in a church building.

                    God gave us His song book, the Psalms (In the OT) and they have little resemblance to modern contemporary songs. Most of them can be complicated and are non-repetitious.

                    In the Book of Revelation, we find both Old and New Testament saints singing TOGETHER around God’s throne which tells me that God has no distinction between the two when it comes to music. God’s grace is never permission to depart from God’s standard and make your own.

                    I know this is a not a general truth, but I see a large % of contemporary church goers who have forsaken what used to be considered general standards for Christians regarding alcohol, smoking, fornication, adultery, cursing, worldly entertainment, etc.  Their Bible knowledge is also very low. You never get spiritual fruit using carnal methods.  I blame contemporary music for most of it along with weak preaching/preachers.

                    I don’t expect others to agree with me, but this is what I hold to.

                    God Bless!


                    on February 28, 2020.
                    Add Comment

                      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.

                      Fell out of ... Answered on February 24, 2020.
                      Add Comment


                        In case you’re curious, here’s a list of 10 of their more popular songs:



                        On the floor Answered on February 24, 2020.

                        Thanks for the link. I’m never sure if an artist is writing the song or just performing it. My church does sing a few of those.

                        on February 24, 2020.

                        TBH, I’m never sure either!

                        on February 25, 2020.
                        Add Comment

                        Your Answer

                        By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.