“Pastor” Frank Houston. Not worthy to be called a shepherd of God’s sheep

 

mum and dad

 

I’ve been meaning to write a blog series entitled “bad bastards I have met” for a while.

I haven’t met super bad bastards like Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria. Adolf Hitler was long dead in a cold Berlin bunker when I was born 11 years later.

Without doubt, the baddest bastard I have ever met was Pastor Frank Houston, the founder of Hillsong Church, the biggest church in Australia.

Although Frank Houston never got charged and convicted of pedophilia, if he’d been a little younger and if he hadn’t been as protected by his son, Pastor Brian Houston, the current head of Hillsong Church, Sydney, he certainly would have been. And Frank would have done some jail time.

Frank’s career in pedophilia dates back at least to the early 60s. Frank was verbally abused and ill-treated by his father, another bad bastard. His father treated his mum bad too and cheated on her with a neighbour, according to Frank.

I was a lay leader and builder helping Frank Houston and Hillsong Church in the early days in the 1980s, before it changed its name from Christian Life Centre, Darlinghurst to Hillsong City Campus.

I’ll write a more comprehensive blog at some stage on this strange and tortured man.

If you want to know more, simply google, “Frank Houston” and “Frank Houston sexual abuse”. Peter Laughton, who was a music director under Frank, was molested by Frank as a young man. He has been openly gay for decades. Peter has said a lot about his sexual experiences with Frank and talked to the Sydney Morning Herald in very explicit detail.

When Frank was alive, Peter said that Frank should come out and admit his homosexuality. All very strange and twisted. Even more so when you consider that Frank was a prominent Christian pastor.

My father’s link with Frank Houston is that they were both prominent clergy in Wellington, New Zealand. They were batting for the same God but on different teams. Dad was with the conservative but lively Khandallah Presbyterian church in the most affluent suburb while Frank had a lively and growing Pentecostal Church in the battler suburb of Lower Hutt.

This is one reason why Brian Houston has done so well. Brian grew up with the working class and the battlers in Lower Hutt. He has done very well amongst this same demograph in Western Sydney.

Dad had heard of this colourful preacher in Lower Hutt who was doing so well, particularly amongst young people. Dad went out to Lower Hutt after his own evening service to check out Frank.

Dad observed all the goings on. Dad came to the conclusion that although the drama of Frank’s services and his late 60s purple suits worked for Frank, they wouldn’t work for dad in conservative old Khandallah. And Frank’s dramatic preaching and general style wasn’t really dad anyway.

I’m proud of my dad that he wasn’t a rat-bag like Frank Houston who brought great shame on his family and on the Church.

Frank Houston interfered with boys all his life for decades. He was only found out in the late 90s when he was quite old.

The Australian AOG, of which Brian Houston, his son was the head of, was confronted with an overwhelming mass of evidence on Frank ‘s pedophilia. The evidence was so great that even Brian, his own son, couldn’t dodge it.

Brian was forced to order an independent investigation headed by a very senior AOG Executive Member Pastor John Lewis. At the end of a two-year investigation there was a damning report and Frank Houston was stripped of his credentials and banned for life by the Aussie AOG Church from ever ministering again.

This was very big if you consider that Frank Houston had been the Head of the New Zealand AOG and then the vast Hillsong Movement and the Australian AOG for decades.

Pastor Phil Pringle the founder of the big C3 (Christian City Church) in Sydney once said from the pulpit that he had been in shock for 2 years after hearing the details of this scandal.

Phil Pringle regarded Frank Houston as his mentor.

I remember the time when I finished the fit-out for Frank’s Bible College in the early 1980s when Frank took Phil Pringle on a tour of the newly completed facility. Phil Pringle was just starting out and Phil was sharing about his big plans for the future. All of these have come to pass. Phil Pringle is a great man of God.

I’m glad that dad had no skeletons in his pastoral closet. Dad was a very strong, controlled, ethical and moral man.

I’m glad that I never had to face what Brian is going through in respect to his father. It must be very hard for Brian.