Archives for posts with tag: Hillsong

Donald Elley of Bellingen:

The article below was published in the Good Weekend section of the Sydney Morning Herald on 14 November 2015.

It’s pretty light-weight, the issues it raises have been covered many times before, and it doesn’t ask the hard questions, so it’s going to need my help to get it where it should be.

I’ll publish it now in full and make helpful comments as I go through it.

I’ll also add my own pictures and images.

Hillsong New York City 11

Josh Canfield Hillsong NYC gay worship leader with gay live-in partner Reed.

Josh Canfield Hillsong New York City gay worship leader with former gay live-in partner Reed. They were planning to marry at Hillsong but things didn’t work out. Josh helpfully informed us: “Our relationship is not yet consummated”, whatever that means, even though they lived together and hosted a gay Hillsong home bible study in their lounge (or bedroom?)

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) article:

Inside the Hillsong Church’s money-making machine

Sydney Morning Herald

November 14, 2015

Reporter: Deborah Snow

While Hillsong’s charismatic leader Brian Houston presides over a glitzy religious empire, he has not only had to face a Royal Commission grilling, but questions over theology, money and his church’s treatment of homosexuals.

My picture and comments:

bobbie-houston-bw2

BOOBIE HOUSTON OF HELL$ONG: “Hi. I’m Bobbie Houston, Brian’s wife. “Darlings, can’t talk now. My chauffeur is waiting. Going down to Double Bay to see my hairdresser and pop in to my cosmetic surgeon for a little touch-up”.

The SMH article:

The charismatic leader of the Hillsong Church divides with his stance on homosexuality, wealth creation and the way he handled his father’s child abuse.

Sydney’s Allphones Arena looms out of the chilly dusk on a late June evening like one of painter Jeffrey Smart’s visions of urban dystopia.

Inside the cavernous space, the senior pastor and co-founder of the Hillsong Church, Brian Houston, is prowling the stage before more than 20,000 mesmerised souls who have flocked here for the opening of the church’s week-long annual conference, famed for its spectacle, fiery preaching and rock-concert atmosphere.

My picture and comments:

Pope Pete, the hip-hop groovy cool youth Pope of Baulkham Hills, Sydney , Australia. Formerly plain old Brian Houston from the bland grey suburb of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.

Pope Brain, the hip-hop groovy cool Youth Pope of Baulkham Hills, Sydney, Australia. Formerly plain old Brian Houston from the bland grey suburb of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.

The SMH article:

“I think my father was homosexual, a closet homosexual. I’m no psychiatrist … but I think whatever frustrations he had, he took out on children”.

My picture and comments:

Pastor Frank Houston. Lifelong pedophile. Answerable to God.

Pastor Frank Houston. Lifelong pedophile. Started abusing little boys aged 7 to 12 when he was in his teens, By the age of 20 he was a hardened pedophile. The covert secret pedophile Frank Houston decided that the Christian ministry was the best way to break down the defence mechanisms of good wholesome trusting Christian families and access their little boys and young males. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston probably sexually abused over 400 boys and young males in his lifetime, probably including his two sons, Brian and Graeme. Graeme refuses to go to church and Brian is in denial. I have definite proof through reliable testimony of victims of 13 boy and young teen victims, but mainly little boys aged 7 to 11. This is only the tip of the iceberg. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston was an extremely active pedophile for his whole adult lifetime. He confessed to his son Brian that he was “very active as a pedophile in the 1960s and 1970s”. This was when he was in his 40s and 50s”. This is when he sexually abused all the little boys that I know of. In the 1980s he switched his homosexual desires to young males in their 20s and 30s. He surrounded himself with young men in this demography at Christian Life Centre, Darlinghurst in the 1980s and 1990s. This was the first name of Hillsong. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston moved to Sydney to escape looming criminal charges for an out-of-control pedophile spree in New Zealand.

The SMH article:

The faithful, the curious, the spiritually hungry: they’re packed to the roof in tight rows, eyes fixed on this master showman. At 61, Houston seems the embodiment of Hillsong’s promise: olive-skinned, unlined brow, gleaming teeth, designer stubble, and powerful build set off by jeans, open-neck shirt and tailored jacket. A veritable poster boy for the boomer generation.

My picture and comments:

I wonder if Brian will ever be led away like this.

I wonder if Brian will ever be led away like this. He won’t be looking so young and bouncy, as described above, if the NSW Justice System prosecutes him for not reporting his old pedophile dad to the NSW Police in 1999 when he should have, according to his statutory duty as a leader of a large Christian organisation. For five years Brian sheltered his old pedophile dad Frank Houston for until he died, his mortal soul going into God’s Hands.

The SMH article:

He’s in full flight – cajoling, conversing, proselytising – when suddenly he drops like a stone to the stage and launches into a series of push-ups.

My pictures and comments:

Brian Houston at CLC Darlinghurst 1982.

Brian Houston of Hillsong

When I listen to Brian Houston preaching, I think he’s insane. I think, “how can any rational and conscious human being listen to his trollop?”

The SMH article:

“We are lean, mean kingdom machines, all set for everything that God wants to do in this place. Amen! Amen!” he proclaims, pumping the stage as they stomp and cheer.

“Your words can frame your future,” he tells them. “Speak your faith, start seeing miracles … Owner of your first home! Best-selling author … Mother of handsome sons and beautiful daughters! Businessman who is prosperous and fruitful! Your brother’s salvation, your sister’s healing … Speak it into being! Speak it into being! Speak it into being! Amen!”

My comments: 

Who does Brian Houston think Australians are? A bunch of bogans?

I’d say there aren’t many, if any, articulate, reflective, intelligent, rational people left at Hillsong.

They’ve all been shunted out the Hillsong door.

Brian Houston’s preaching makes me want to puke.

The SMH article:

The uplifting mood is punctured for me two days later when I’m hauled out of my $300 conference seat near the rafters by a burly security guard wearing a Hillsong T-shirt. My sin, apparently, is to have made people “feel uncomfortable” by writing in a notebook and asking the young chap next to me a few questions.

My comments and picture:

In my recent Hillsong Insider series, the Hillsong Insider has been expressing how he feels Hillsong Security are a bunch of thugs, and how Senior Pastor Steve McGhie is an insensitive bogan.

The above incident demonstrates the Hillsong Insiders point. Hillsong have really lost it.

Pastor Steve McGhie

Pastor Steve McGhie. Senior Pastor at Hillsong City Church in Waterloo. Brian Houston’s goof-ball bro-in- law. God help us. God help the naive believing inexperienced Hillsong young faithful.  About Steve McGhie, the Hillsong Insider who I’ve interviewed, says: “Steve McGhie is Racist, Bigoted and Unloving. Steve McGhie has no heart for the poor and downtrodden of Sydney’s Inner City, Hillsong City’s neighbours. That Steve McGhie hates Aboriginal. That he hates lesbians and calls them “lady-lovers” and throws them out the Hillsong door”.

The SMH article:

Brian Houston speaks to the media after appearing at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in October last year.

My photograph and comments:

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston: His gospel is that “Greed is Good”. This is the polar opposite of the words and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the mighty Apostle Paul. Brian Houston doesn’t know the Lord Jesus Christ.

The SMH article:

When I ask Houston some days afterwards about this subtle undercurrent of paranoia, he expresses surprise. He suggests it could have been a response to his stark warnings from the stage about Channel Nine’s A Current Affair, which had been quizzing Hillsongers outside the conference about their financial contributions to the church (a perennial sore point).

“ACA just lies” he says, eyes blazing. “Full stop. You can quote me. They are just liars.”

My photographs and comments:

Brian Houston 1b

Pastor Brian Houston, the criminal pedophile Frank Houston's son. In denial.

Pastor Brian Houston, the criminal pedophile Frank Houston’s son. In denial.

The SMH article:

There’s more bristling when talk turns to the darkest cloud currently sitting on Hillsong’s horizon, the fallout from his appearance at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse last year (of which more later). “In their eyes, I didn’t do a thing right,” he says defiantly. Hillsong’s reputation for being on the thin-skinned side is starting to make some sense.

My photograph and comments:

Big bro Brian Hoston CEO of Hillsong organisation:

Brian Houston CEO of the Hillsong organisation at Day One of the Royal Commission: “Could you please repeat the question… Could you please repeat the question… Could you please repeat the question?” I think Brian’s psychiatrist lowered the dose level of his medications for Day Two of the Royal Commission.

The SMH article:

Our interview takes place in a private suite of rooms upstairs at the sprawling church complex in Alexandria (one of several valuable Sydney sites Hillsong owns) just as he’s about to jet off overseas for three months on church business.

Houston and his equally burnished wife, Bobbie, 58, the reigning couple of Australian Pentecostalism, are riding the crest of a wave that shows no signs of breaking. The Hillsong empire they founded (she, too, is a senior pastor) pulled in tax-free revenues of nearly $80 million in Australia last year and more than $100 million internationally. It is on the ground in 15 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas, and broadcast in 160 nations. And it’s still growing. “I don’t feel there are any limits on how far we should try and go to reach as many people as we possibly can,” Houston says.

My pictures and comments:

Pastor Brian Houston.

Pastor Brian Houston. “No limits”.

Senior Joint Head Pastor of Hillsong international and the Hillsong Kingdoms stretching to the ends of the earth, as far as the vultures and eagle eyes can see.

Queen Bee Bobbie Houston. Eternal Princess and Queen Bee of the Hillsong Sisterhood. Botoxed to the Brim. Travels the world in luxury. No expense spared. Lives in a Houston McMansion in Glenhaven West Sydney. Only the very best will do for Queen Bobbie. 

The SMH article:

Their three grown children all hold leadership positions within the church (though Houston flatly rejects suggestions it’s looking like a family business).

Sons Ben, 33, and Joel, 37, lead the charge in the US, with Ben having “planted” a Hillsong offshoot in LA and Joel becoming assistant pastor in New York. Daughter Laura, 28, and son-in-law Peter Toganivalu are youth pastors at Hillsong in Sydney.

My pictures and comments:

Joel Houston. Mummy's boy. Mummy spoils her kids rotten.

Joel Houston. Mummy’s boy. Mummy spoils her kids rotten.

“Pastor”Joel Houston. Pampered. Great sense of entitlement. “I’m Amazing. I’m the great Brian Houston’s son…Praise the Lord I’m Amazing”. Co-pastor of Hillsong New York City. Frank Houston’s talented grandson.

“Pastor” Joel Houston and “Pastor” Carl Lentz. Head pastors of Hillsong New York City. Gay lovers.

The SMH article:

There are bible training colleges, a Hillsong Performing Arts Academy, a Hollywood-produced film in the works, and Brian and Bobbie’s many books, CDs and DVDs. Underpinning it all is the hugely successful and lucrative Hillsong United rock band, fronted by Joel, which has soared to stratospheric heights on US Christian music charts.

It’s all too much for critics such as American pastor Chris Rosebrough, who labels Hillsong an “evangelical/ industrial complex” and Houston the “CEO of an international multimedia entertainment company” that “happens to have venues around the world where they do something they call church”.

Rosebrough runs Pirate Christian Radio, an online religious radio network that regularly takes aim at what he calls Hillsong’s “big box” approach to Christianity with its “squishy self-help inspirational messages” and “rock and roll laser light show”. More fundamentally, he takes issue with Hillsong’s theology, accusing Houston of teaching the “Word of Faith heresy”.

“It teaches that God wants you to be rich and prosperous so that you can be a blessing to other people, and that you do this by creating the future with your words,” he tells Good Weekend from his base in North Dakota. “It distorts the scriptures, and it’s a doctrine that wasn’t even taught until American televangelists invented it maybe 30 to 40 years ago.”

A similar queasiness about Hillsong’s messaging is felt by a number of mainstream church leaders here, though there is greater reluctance to say so openly.

“Brian’s intuitive genius is marketing,” says one senior churchman, who asks not to be quoted. “Hillsong is a culture – success, beautiful people, a positive message and nothing negative. The message is, ‘You’re awesome and God is awesome and we are God’s chosen and we have to be seen to be awesome.’ And when you tease out what awesome means, it basically means prosperity. They go very close to going that to be poor is sinful, to be saved successful.”

Sociologist Andrew Jakubowicz, of the University of Technology Sydney, observes that “this is not a church where the leader washes the feet of beggars”.

My picture and comments:

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston: “Greed is good…I’d wash the feet of beggars if I knew any but I’d rather get them to tithe their Social Security Pension”.

The SMH article:

But Houston is unapologetic about the self- advancement psychology embedded in Hillsong’s message. “I’d rather give people some hope than no hope,” he says. “We encourage them to look to Jesus and build their lives on the right foundations. My methods are relatable in a world where many say the church is a dying force. And I’m not prepared as a church leader to just sit there and let it die.”

Just as the Murdochs have taken three generations to build an empire, the Houstons have taken three generations to build Hillsong into the behemoth it is today. The more it grows, the more adherents see this as proof of divine endorsement.

“People are not looking for stale religion” with “dilapidated buildings filled with narrow-minded, self-righteous finger pointers”, Houston writes in his most recent book, Live Love Lead, released in July. “I am convinced beyond a doubt that God didn’t create us to live mediocre, settle-for-less lives.”

There was nothing settle-for-less about Brian’s father, William Francis “Frank” Houston, a consummate showman and gifted preacher whom Houston hero- worshipped as a boy. As a youngster, he would wave his dad off “longingly” on ministry trips, “believing that I, too, would do just that one day.”

Yet Frank, the empire-founder, was very nearly its undoing. In 1999, sensational allegations surfaced that he had been a serial paedophile, preying on boys and young men whom he had met through the church.

The revelations were shocking, perhaps less so to those familiar with Frank’s inauspicious start as a churchman. A former New Zealand Salvation Army officer who had left that organisation under a cloud when awkward discrepancies showed up in the local accounts, Frank suffered several nervous breakdowns in young adulthood. At least one episode required hospitalisation. So destitute were he and his young family that at one point they possessed nothing beyond “six forks, two pairs of blankets and an old radio”, according to his stalwart wife, Hazel.

The man who saved Frank Houston was a barnstorming Pentecostal preacher, Ray Bloomfield, who took him on as a kind of apprentice at a church near Auckland in the late 1950s.

Under Bloomfield’s tutelage, Frank became entranced by Pentecostalism, a form of charismatic Christian worship that celebrates exuberant physical manifestations of religious ecstasy such as the incomprehensible babbling known as “speaking in tongues”.

In her 1989 book, Being Frank, Hazel recalled how her husband would kneel in prayer “as close to Ray as possible so that he might experience the gushings of Ray’s tongues”.

When Bloomfield eventually left New Zealand for Canada, he handed his church over to Frank who, by some never fully explained process, became an Assemblies of God minister in his own right. He became an entertaining preacher who would “do crazy things like throw a glass of water over the congregation and make funny jokes – he endeared himself to a lot of people”, recalls one former pastor.

Frank’s enjoyment of the company of young men was noted, but rang no alarm bells at the time. It was always seen as “Frank being this father figure to young, gentle men”.

His fierce ambitions for a successor centred on his second son, Brian, rather than eldest, Graeme, who became a fireman and moved to Britain.

In early 1999, just before the first whiff of scandal hit, Frank issued his own book, The Release of the Human Spirit, in which he described laying hands on the infant Brian and beseeching the Lord to “make this boy grow to be a mighty man of God”.

The Houstons arrived in Sydney in 1977 after a divine visitation ordered Frank to “plant a church” in the harbour city. They set up the Sydney Christian Life Centre, initially in Double Bay, and ran it on a shoestring, with newlyweds Brian (then aged 24) and Bobbie coming out from NZ to help them a year later. Brian washed windows to make ends meet, the younger couple eventually buying themselves what one former friend recalls as a “tiny little bungalow in Kings Langley”.

In 1983, Brian Houston ventured out to nearby Baulkham Hills in the city’s north-west to set up an offshoot of his father’s church, calling it the Hills Christian Life Centre. He chose the Hills, he told the ABC’s Australian Story some years ago, partly because of a hugely successful car dealer out there who “used to be on the TV and sell Holdens. And I thought to myself, ‘If you could build the largest Holden dealership in Australia there, surely it must be somewhere where you could build a church.’ ”

Houston soon hit spiritual pay dirt, teaming up with the man who would become one of his closest friends: gifted musician and former ABC technical operations officer Geoff Bullock, who wrote, directed and produced much of Hillsong’s music in those years (delivering three gold albums and a platinum in the process). A trip to the US in 1989 also proved a turning point.

A wide-eyed Houston was feted by pastors involved with the American Word of Faith movement and came back wearing what Bullock remembers as “the loudest shirts we had ever seen”. Everything else changed, too, according to Bullock: “The focus of Hillsong went from the standard Assemblies of God doctrine, which was more working-class and left-wing, to suddenly the prosperity doctrine.” As Hillsong leapt from success to success, Bullock found himself struggling with the increasingly frenetic pace, his own turmoil, and Houston’s leadership style. He finally parted company with Hillsong in 1995, having taken it to the brink of its international musical success. The rupture was wounding to both men.

Bullock tells Good Weekend: “I had an unshakeable spiritual revelation that it was time to leave. There had always been tensions in our relationship. Brian had a fiery temper and domineering leadership style and I was under relentless pressure.” Bullock’s former wife, Janine, says, “They demanded blood of him, but it still wasn’t enough.”

The sense of betrayal was deep on both sides. Over the ensuing years Houston has repeatedly claimed (without naming Bullock) that he had no warning of the departure of the man he then considered his best friend. Bullock emphatically disputes this.

Most distressing to Bullock – and others who admired his work – is that he has now been effectively airbrushed from Hillsong’s history.

By the late 1990s Hillsong was in gleaming purpose- built premises, and feted enough to have John Howard open its new convention centre in 2002. Brian Houston had by now risen to the hugely influential position of national president of the Assemblies of God (AOG), a movement with which Hillsong was affiliated.

In early 1999 Frank stepped aside from the city branch, asking his son to take over. Few knew Frank was secretly fending off the first of the child sexual abuse allegations that would crash around the church with the force of a tsunami.

In evidence before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse at the end of last year, Brian Houston said he’d had no inkling of his father’s dark secrets before October 1999.

He spoke of feeling shock and devastation, described how he had confronted his father at the first opportunity and – after convening a meeting of other AOG elders to discuss the crisis – forced Frank to stand aside (albeit on a pension) from further preaching duties.

But the counsel assisting the commission, Simeon Beckett, has taken a sterner view of the matter. Late last year he recommended Houston be referred to NSW police for failing to pass on that earliest claim of abuse (others involving at least six boys in New Zealand surfaced later). And he chastised Houston for failing to recognise the conflict of interest inherent in having carriage of the complaint against his father while also being head of Hillsong and head of the Assemblies of God.

My pictures and comments

brian houston zBrian Houston 1eBrian Houston 1g

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston 1ibrian houston xiiBrian Houston 4

trying to explain it away

Brian: trying to explain it away

The life of Brian

The life of Brian

The SMH article

Houston can barely contain his anger at Beckett’s recommendations. He maintains he respected the wishes of the victim, by then an adult, who had wanted the matter kept in-house; and that elders of the Assemblies of God had full knowledge and oversight of his handling of the affair.

Houston tells Good Weekend: “It didn’t really matter what the facts were, the counsel assisting [the commission] had his mind made up about what happened and never moved off it at any point.”

Frank died in 2004 aged 82, yet despite the gathering storm was still a respectable enough figure for then senior police officer (now NSW police commissioner) Andrew Scipione to attend his funeral. Scipione was also spotted at this year’s Hillsong conference, raising eyebrows among some of the church’s more trenchant critics.

My picture and comment

Phil Pringle. CEO of C3 International. Now a doctor. Regarded the pedophile Frank Houston as his spiritual father.

Phil Pringle. CEO of C3 International based in Sydney Australia. Now a Doctor. Regarded the Pedophile Frank Houston as his Spiritual Father. Has a little something in his syringe to help his mate Brian through all his many troubles.

The SMH article

As Frank’s dark secrets gradually unfurled, Brian Houston slid slowly into a growing dependence on sleeping pills.

In Live Love Lead, he describes falling prey to a growing disconnect between an inner emptiness and the church’s outward success. The climax came one night five years ago with a full-blown panic attack, which washed him up on a “great reef of jagged pain, fear and sorrow”. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, though he says he has now bounced back, through “the grace of God”.

Didn’t he feel he was living a lie through those years, telling others that faith was enough to deliver the good life, even as he was “imploding” inside?

“I don’t see that I was being fake at all,” he says. “I’ve never stopped loving people, never stopped loving God. “You call it a façade, but I don’t even see it like that, because to me, I was still genuine in everything I did.”

When Frank was 78, he told Brian that Frank’s own father had once abused him after coming home drunk.

“I think my father was homosexual, a closet homosexual,” says Houston, almost as an aside. “I’m no psychiatrist … but I think whatever frustrations he had, he took out on children.”

My comments:

“C’mon Brian, your dad was a child rapist all his life. Get over it. We’re all sick of you crapping on trying to sanitise yourself, your old rampant sicko pedophile dad, and your whole damn greedy avarice out-of-control family. Why don’t you just shut the whole darn thing down and go fishing or something?”

The SMH article:

The Hillsong United band takes the stage, its members in skinny jeans and T-shirts, frontman Joel Houston in an edgy black hat, as they pump up the volume under sweeping lights. “You take me higher than I’ve been before … You are everything I want and more.” Thousands sing along, arms upraised, eyes closed, in the grip of a kind of rapture. Somewhere here at the conference, keeping a lowish profile, is pop star Justin Bieber, who hangs out with Joel at Hillsong in New York. Joel is married to a fashion and lifestyle-blogging Brazilian model, Esther Lima Houston, who struts her stuff on misswhoo.com, providing “an unfiltered lifestyle platform for the modern woman”.

Happy, shiny people. Bullock once said he “came to think that the patron saint of Hillsong was Gianni Versace”. Jakubowicz says he’s “fascinated by how successfully Hillsong has integrated the various elements of contemporary culture into the whole story”.

Yet while it works hard at cultivating its hip, contemporary appeal, there is still little comfort to be found here for those who are openly homosexual. Former Hillsong regular Alex Pittaway, now studying theology in the US, says he saw one friend devastated after being told by the church that “we can’t have gay people in speaking or leadership roles”. He says others were left wounded after being directed towards what was known as “ex-gay reparative therapy”, aimed at “curing” them of homosexuality. “Gay people need to know that there is only so far they can go in Hillsong,” says Pittaway.

Anthony Venn-Brown, a former Assemblies of God pastor who broke with the movement after falling in love with a man, now runs Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International, an organisation aimed at building links between religious organisations and gay and bisexual Christians. He says Houston has a “heart for people” but “like many evangelical leaders is on a journey that requires greater understanding of sexual orientation”. Houston recently referred to gay marriage as the “elephant in the room” for the churches.

Hillsong’s finances are another perennial topic for critics, aired copiously on watchdog websites. (Infamously, in 1999 Houston put out a tome entitled You Need More Money; he regrets it now, though, insisting “the idea of the book, I think, was pure”.) In the past, Hillsong has encouraged tithing (rendering 10 per cent of income to the church) and is notorious for the “love offerings” it solicits at religious services for visiting preachers. Steve West, a former Hillsong regular who attended its leadership college 15 years ago, says Hillsong and its affiliates “are the only churches I know to have sermons designed to inspire giving, every single service. I have run a church ministry. This is totally unnecessary behaviour.”

The church’s financial operations are enmeshed in nine different corporate entities registered with the federal government’s Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, and despite Hillsong’s frequent promises of financial transparency, that’s not been the experience of West, who says when he sought access to the books he was rebuffed and demonised.

“Their response was along the lines of trying to shut me down – I got a letter from their lawyers, a cease and desist notice.” Hillsong rejects the claims and says it had to “take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from baseless and inappropriate comments”. The bulk of Hillsong’s tax-free millions appears to go towards funding its relentless expansion, and keeping its own intricate machinery running, though it does underwrite a range of charitable activities. In recent years it has raised nearly $1.5 million for victims of natural disasters abroad. It runs prison outreach services, offers free counselling to those unable to afford mental health treatment, and last year distributed more than 130,000 food and toy items. It says it reached thousands of people with its volunteer-run CityCare street teams.

In 2013 Houston attempted to quell speculation about how much he and his family were earning from the rivers of gold Hillsong was generating by posting an online letter entitled “Bobbie’s and My Finances”. He stated he was earning $150,000 that year from the church plus $150,000 from Leadership Ministries Incorporated (LMI), which he described as “the entity by which Bobbie and I conduct our broader ministry” worldwide as guest speakers. (There is a well-trodden circuit for celebrity pastors, who were thick on the ground at the Hillsong’s own conference this year.) Personal royalties were not clarified, nor were Bobbie’s earnings.

When Good Weekend asked for an update on this year’s figures, a church spokesman demurred, saying, “We do not disclose the remuneration arrangements of any individual employee due to privacy and confidentiality issues.” The 2014 return for LMI showed it had gross earnings of nearly $670,000 and two full-time employees, whose names Hillsong did not disclose.

In early July, Channel Nine’s A Current Affair took fresh aim at the church’s well-filled coffers and the heavy burden placed on church volunteers.

The segment included an interview outside Allphones Arena (as the Hillsong conference was underway) with Tanya Levin, author of People in Glass Houses: An Insider’s Story of Life In and Out of Hillsong, a critique of Hillsong published in 2007. Acting on a tip-off from a Hillsong member – who told police at the venue that Levin had previously been banned by the church from venturing onto any Hillsong property – including premises the church had hired for events – police swooped and arrested her. She now faces trespass charges and will appear in court again this month. Thus far Hillsong is refusing to comment on the case. However, it has again outraged church critics; West sees it as further evidence of an internal culture deeply averse to criticism.

“If you criticise them its because you have let in a ‘root of bitterness’ – these are the terms they use,” he claims. “Any Hillsong pastor who has strayed from the vision is quickly ostracised.”

Even those who like and admire Houston worry that the circle surrounding him may be overly deferential. Rosebrough argues that the fact that Hillsong and other family-dominated Pentecostal churches have no “traditional ecclesiastical oversight” makes them more vulnerable to potential conflicts between family interests and those of the organisation more broadly.

But Houston insists that “there are all the other incredible people around me … it’s not like I’m the king of Saudi or something.”

Reverend Tim Costello, a Baptist minister, believes Hillsong is doing good work among young Australians who would otherwise be like “beached whales who have lost their radar”.

“It’s much better being in church than doing ice in nightclubs,” he says. “Young people living in a land of plenty are yearning for both spirituality and a sense of justice, and when you bring these two things together it is a powerful statement of true Christian faith. I do believe Hillsong are trying to do this.”

Steve West is more blunt about where Hillsong’s appeal lies: “Moral certainty, community, a sense of identity. There is something so attractive about a black and white view of the world.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/inside-the-hillsong-churchs-moneymaking-machine-20151026-gkip53.html#ixzz3rUpUGrg9
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

My comments and pictures:

Why didn’t Deborah Snow ask a few tough questions like: “Were you ever abused by your old rampant evil child rapist father?” and “Why do you refuse point blank to help the boy and young male pedophile victims of the Founder of Hillsong, your father Frank Houston’s sexual abuses”.

Bobbie and Brian's mansion

Hillsong’s Queen and King. Bobbie and Brian’s mansion in Glenhaven Sydney Australia bought with Hillsong tithes.

The house of Bobbie and Brian.

The Mansion of Bobbie and Brian.

Brian Houston house 3 Brian Houston house 5

Brian and Bobbie Houston's McMansion Palace in Glenhaven, Western Sydney.

King Brian and Queen Bobbie Houston’s McMansion Palace in Glenhaven, Western Sydney.

Brian Houston house 8 Brian Houston house 9 Brian Houston house 11

Bobbie and Brian's house. Home theatre.

Bobbie and Brian Houston’s Home Theatre.

Donald Elley of Bellingen:

The article below was published in the Good Weekend section of the Sydney Morning Herald on 14 November 2015.

It’s pretty light-weight, the issues it raises have been covered many times before, and it doesn’t ask the hard questions, so it’s going to need my help to get it where it should be.

I’ll publish it now in full and make helpful comments as I go through it.

I’ll also add my own pictures and images.

Hillsong New York City 11

Josh Canfield Hillsong NYC gay worship leader with gay live-in partner Reed.

Josh Canfield Hillsong New York City gay worship leader with former gay live-in partner Reed. They were planning to marry at Hillsong but things didn’t work out. Josh helpfully informed us: “Our relationship is not yet consummated”, whatever that means, even though they lived together and hosted a gay Hillsong home bible study in their lounge (or bedroom?)

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) article:

Inside the Hillsong Church’s money-making machine

Sydney Morning Herald

November 14, 2015

Reporter: Deborah Snow

While Hillsong’s charismatic leader Brian Houston presides over a glitzy religious empire, he has not only had to face a Royal Commission grilling, but questions over theology, money and his church’s treatment of homosexuals.

My picture and comments:

Hi. I'm Bobbie Houston. Darlings, can't talk now. My ride is waiting. Going down to Double Bay to see my hairdresser and pop in to my Cosmetic Surgeon for a little touch-up.

Hi. I’m Bobbie Houston, Brian’s wife. “Darlings, can’t talk now. My chauffeur is waiting. Going down to Double Bay to see my hairdresser and pop in to my cosmetic surgeon for a little touch-up”.

The SMH article:

The charismatic leader of the Hillsong Church divides with his stance on homosexuality, wealth creation and the way he handled his father’s child abuse.

Sydney’s Allphones Arena looms out of the chilly dusk on a late June evening like one of painter Jeffrey Smart’s visions of urban dystopia.

Inside the cavernous space, the senior pastor and co-founder of the Hillsong Church, Brian Houston, is prowling the stage before more than 20,000 mesmerised souls who have flocked here for the opening of the church’s week-long annual conference, famed for its spectacle, fiery preaching and rock-concert atmosphere.

My picture and comments:

Pope Pete, the hip-hop groovy cool youth Pope of Baulkham Hills, Sydney , Australia. Formerly plain old Brian Houston from the bland grey suburb of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.

Pope Brain, the hip-hop groovy cool Youth Pope of Baulkham Hills, Sydney, Australia. Formerly plain old Brian Houston from the bland grey suburb of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.

The SMH article:

“I think my father was homosexual, a closet homosexual. I’m no psychiatrist … but I think whatever frustrations he had, he took out on children”.

My picture and comments:

Pastor Frank Houston. Lifelong pedophile. Answerable to God.

Pastor Frank Houston. Lifelong pedophile. Started abusing little boys aged 7 to 12 when he was in his teens, By the age of 20 he was a hardened pedophile. The covert secret pedophile Frank Houston decided that the Christian ministry was the best way to break down the defence mechanisms of good wholesome trusting Christian families and access their little boys and young males. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston probably sexually abused over 400 boys and young males in his lifetime, probably including his two sons, Brian and Graeme. Graeme refuses to go to church and Brian is in denial. I have definite proof through reliable testimony of victims of 13 boy and young teen victims, but mainly little boys aged 7 to 11. This is only the tip of the iceberg. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston was an extremely active pedophile for his whole adult lifetime. He confessed to his son Brian that he was “very active as a pedophile in the 1960s and 1970s”. This was when he was in his 40s and 50s”. This is when he sexually abused all the little boys that I know of. In the 1980s he switched his homosexual desires to young males in their 20s and 30s. He surrounded himself with young men in this demography at Christian Life Centre, Darlinghurst in the 1980s and 1990s. This was the first name of Hillsong. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston moved to Sydney to escape looming criminal charges for an out-of-control pedophile spree in New Zealand.

The SMH article:

The faithful, the curious, the spiritually hungry: they’re packed to the roof in tight rows, eyes fixed on this master showman. At 61, Houston seems the embodiment of Hillsong’s promise: olive-skinned, unlined brow, gleaming teeth, designer stubble, and powerful build set off by jeans, open-neck shirt and tailored jacket. A veritable poster boy for the boomer generation.

My picture and comments:

I wonder if Brian will ever be led away like this.

I wonder if Brian will ever be led away like this. He won’t be looking so young and bouncy, as described above, if the NSW Justice System prosecutes him for not reporting his old pedophile dad to the NSW Police in 1999 when he should have, according to his statutory duty as a leader of a large Christian organisation. For five years Brian sheltered his old pedophile dad Frank Houston for until he died, his mortal soul going into God’s Hands.

The SMH article:

He’s in full flight – cajoling, conversing, proselytising – when suddenly he drops like a stone to the stage and launches into a series of push-ups.

My pictures and comments:

Brian Houston at CLC Darlinghurst 1982.

Brian Houston of Hillsong

When I listen to Brian Houston preaching, I think he’s insane. I think, “how can any rational and conscious human being listen to his trollop?”

The SMH article:

“We are lean, mean kingdom machines, all set for everything that God wants to do in this place. Amen! Amen!” he proclaims, pumping the stage as they stomp and cheer.

“Your words can frame your future,” he tells them. “Speak your faith, start seeing miracles … Owner of your first home! Best-selling author … Mother of handsome sons and beautiful daughters! Businessman who is prosperous and fruitful! Your brother’s salvation, your sister’s healing … Speak it into being! Speak it into being! Speak it into being! Amen!”

My comments: 

Who does Brian Houston think Australians are? A bunch of bogans?

I’d say there aren’t many, if any, articulate, reflective, intelligent, rational people left at Hillsong.

They’ve all been shunted out the Hillsong door.

Brian Houston’s preaching makes me want to puke.

The SMH article:

The uplifting mood is punctured for me two days later when I’m hauled out of my $300 conference seat near the rafters by a burly security guard wearing a Hillsong T-shirt. My sin, apparently, is to have made people “feel uncomfortable” by writing in a notebook and asking the young chap next to me a few questions.

My comments and picture:

In my recent Hillsong Insider series, the Hillsong Insider has been expressing how he feels Hillsong Security are a bunch of thugs, and how Senior Pastor Steve McGhie is an insensitive bogan.

The above incident demonstrates the Hillsong Insiders point. Hillsong have really lost it.

Pastor Steve McGhie

Pastor Steve McGhie. Senior Pastor at Hillsong City Church in Waterloo. Brian Houston’s goof-ball bro-in- law. God help us. God help the naive believing inexperienced Hillsong young faithful.  About Steve McGhie, the Hillsong Insider who I’ve interviewed, says: “Steve McGhie is Racist, Bigoted and Unloving. Steve McGhie has no heart for the poor and downtrodden of Sydney’s Inner City, Hillsong City’s neighbours. That Steve McGhie hates Aboriginal. That he hates lesbians and calls them “lady-lovers” and throws them out the Hillsong door”.

The SMH article:

Brian Houston speaks to the media after appearing at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in October last year.

My photograph and comments:

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston: His gospel is that “Greed is Good”. This is the polar opposite of the words and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the mighty Apostle Paul. Brian Houston doesn’t know the Lord Jesus Christ.

The SMH article:

When I ask Houston some days afterwards about this subtle undercurrent of paranoia, he expresses surprise. He suggests it could have been a response to his stark warnings from the stage about Channel Nine’s A Current Affair, which had been quizzing Hillsongers outside the conference about their financial contributions to the church (a perennial sore point).

“ACA just lies” he says, eyes blazing. “Full stop. You can quote me. They are just liars.”

My photographs and comments:

Brian Houston 1b

Pastor Brian Houston, the criminal pedophile Frank Houston's son. In denial.

Pastor Brian Houston, the criminal pedophile Frank Houston’s son. In denial.

 

The SMH article:

There’s more bristling when talk turns to the darkest cloud currently sitting on Hillsong’s horizon, the fallout from his appearance at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse last year (of which more later). “In their eyes, I didn’t do a thing right,” he says defiantly. Hillsong’s reputation for being on the thin-skinned side is starting to make some sense.

My photograph and comments:

Big bro Brian Hoston CEO of Hillsong organisation:

Brian Houston CEO of the Hillsong organisation at Day One of the Royal Commission: “Could you please repeat the question… Could you please repeat the question… Could you please repeat the question?” I think Brian’s psychiatrist lowered the dose level of his medications for Day Two of the Royal Commission.

The SMH article:

Our interview takes place in a private suite of rooms upstairs at the sprawling church complex in Alexandria (one of several valuable Sydney sites Hillsong owns) just as he’s about to jet off overseas for three months on church business.

Houston and his equally burnished wife, Bobbie, 58, the reigning couple of Australian Pentecostalism, are riding the crest of a wave that shows no signs of breaking. The Hillsong empire they founded (she, too, is a senior pastor) pulled in tax-free revenues of nearly $80 million in Australia last year and more than $100 million internationally. It is on the ground in 15 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas, and broadcast in 160 nations. And it’s still growing. “I don’t feel there are any limits on how far we should try and go to reach as many people as we possibly can,” Houston says.

My pictures and comments:

Pastor Brian Houston.

Pastor Brian Houston. “No limits”.

Senior Joint Head Pastor of Hillsong international and the Hillsong Kingdoms stretching to the ends of the earth, as far as the vultures and eagle eyes can see.

Queen Bee Bobbie Houston. Eternal Princess and Queen Bee of the Hillsong Sisterhood. Botoxed to the Brim. Travels the world in luxury. No expense spared. Lives in a Houston McMansion in Glenhaven West Sydney. Only the very best will do for Queen Bobbie. 

The SMH article:

Their three grown children all hold leadership positions within the church (though Houston flatly rejects suggestions it’s looking like a family business).

Sons Ben, 33, and Joel, 37, lead the charge in the US, with Ben having “planted” a Hillsong offshoot in LA and Joel becoming assistant pastor in New York. Daughter Laura, 28, and son-in-law Peter Toganivalu are youth pastors at Hillsong in Sydney.

My pictures and comments:

Joel Houston. Mummy's boy. Mummy spoils her kids rotten.

Joel Houston. Mummy’s boy. Mummy spoils her kids rotten.

“Pastor”Joel Houston. Pampered. Great sense of entitlement. “I’m Amazing. I’m the great Brian Houston’s son…Praise the Lord I’m Amazing”. Co-pastor of Hillsong New York City. Frank Houston’s talented grandson.

“Pastor” Joel Houston and “Pastor” Carl Lentz. Head pastors of Hillsong New York City. Gay lovers.

The SMH article:

There are bible training colleges, a Hillsong Performing Arts Academy, a Hollywood-produced film in the works, and Brian and Bobbie’s many books, CDs and DVDs. Underpinning it all is the hugely successful and lucrative Hillsong United rock band, fronted by Joel, which has soared to stratospheric heights on US Christian music charts.

It’s all too much for critics such as American pastor Chris Rosebrough, who labels Hillsong an “evangelical/ industrial complex” and Houston the “CEO of an international multimedia entertainment company” that “happens to have venues around the world where they do something they call church”.

Rosebrough runs Pirate Christian Radio, an online religious radio network that regularly takes aim at what he calls Hillsong’s “big box” approach to Christianity with its “squishy self-help inspirational messages” and “rock and roll laser light show”. More fundamentally, he takes issue with Hillsong’s theology, accusing Houston of teaching the “Word of Faith heresy”.

“It teaches that God wants you to be rich and prosperous so that you can be a blessing to other people, and that you do this by creating the future with your words,” he tells Good Weekend from his base in North Dakota. “It distorts the scriptures, and it’s a doctrine that wasn’t even taught until American televangelists invented it maybe 30 to 40 years ago.”

A similar queasiness about Hillsong’s messaging is felt by a number of mainstream church leaders here, though there is greater reluctance to say so openly.

“Brian’s intuitive genius is marketing,” says one senior churchman, who asks not to be quoted. “Hillsong is a culture – success, beautiful people, a positive message and nothing negative. The message is, ‘You’re awesome and God is awesome and we are God’s chosen and we have to be seen to be awesome.’ And when you tease out what awesome means, it basically means prosperity. They go very close to going that to be poor is sinful, to be saved successful.”

Sociologist Andrew Jakubowicz, of the University of Technology Sydney, observes that “this is not a church where the leader washes the feet of beggars”.

My picture and comments:

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston: “Greed is good”. “I’d wash the feet of beggars if I knew any but I’d rather get them to tithe their Social Security Pension”.

The SMH article:

But Houston is unapologetic about the self- advancement psychology embedded in Hillsong’s message. “I’d rather give people some hope than no hope,” he says. “We encourage them to look to Jesus and build their lives on the right foundations. My methods are relatable in a world where many say the church is a dying force. And I’m not prepared as a church leader to just sit there and let it die.”

Just as the Murdochs have taken three generations to build an empire, the Houstons have taken three generations to build Hillsong into the behemoth it is today. The more it grows, the more adherents see this as proof of divine endorsement.

“People are not looking for stale religion” with “dilapidated buildings filled with narrow-minded, self-righteous finger pointers”, Houston writes in his most recent book, Live Love Lead, released in July. “I am convinced beyond a doubt that God didn’t create us to live mediocre, settle-for-less lives.”

There was nothing settle-for-less about Brian’s father, William Francis “Frank” Houston, a consummate showman and gifted preacher whom Houston hero- worshipped as a boy. As a youngster, he would wave his dad off “longingly” on ministry trips, “believing that I, too, would do just that one day.”

Yet Frank, the empire-founder, was very nearly its undoing. In 1999, sensational allegations surfaced that he had been a serial paedophile, preying on boys and young men whom he had met through the church.

The revelations were shocking, perhaps less so to those familiar with Frank’s inauspicious start as a churchman. A former New Zealand Salvation Army officer who had left that organisation under a cloud when awkward discrepancies showed up in the local accounts, Frank suffered several nervous breakdowns in young adulthood. At least one episode required hospitalisation. So destitute were he and his young family that at one point they possessed nothing beyond “six forks, two pairs of blankets and an old radio”, according to his stalwart wife, Hazel.

The man who saved Frank Houston was a barnstorming Pentecostal preacher, Ray Bloomfield, who took him on as a kind of apprentice at a church near Auckland in the late 1950s.

Under Bloomfield’s tutelage, Frank became entranced by Pentecostalism, a form of charismatic Christian worship that celebrates exuberant physical manifestations of religious ecstasy such as the incomprehensible babbling known as “speaking in tongues”.

In her 1989 book, Being Frank, Hazel recalled how her husband would kneel in prayer “as close to Ray as possible so that he might experience the gushings of Ray’s tongues”.

When Bloomfield eventually left New Zealand for Canada, he handed his church over to Frank who, by some never fully explained process, became an Assemblies of God minister in his own right. He became an entertaining preacher who would “do crazy things like throw a glass of water over the congregation and make funny jokes – he endeared himself to a lot of people”, recalls one former pastor.

Frank’s enjoyment of the company of young men was noted, but rang no alarm bells at the time. It was always seen as “Frank being this father figure to young, gentle men”.

His fierce ambitions for a successor centred on his second son, Brian, rather than eldest, Graeme, who became a fireman and moved to Britain.

In early 1999, just before the first whiff of scandal hit, Frank issued his own book, The Release of the Human Spirit, in which he described laying hands on the infant Brian and beseeching the Lord to “make this boy grow to be a mighty man of God”.

The Houstons arrived in Sydney in 1977 after a divine visitation ordered Frank to “plant a church” in the harbour city. They set up the Sydney Christian Life Centre, initially in Double Bay, and ran it on a shoestring, with newlyweds Brian (then aged 24) and Bobbie coming out from NZ to help them a year later. Brian washed windows to make ends meet, the younger couple eventually buying themselves what one former friend recalls as a “tiny little bungalow in Kings Langley”.

In 1983, Brian Houston ventured out to nearby Baulkham Hills in the city’s north-west to set up an offshoot of his father’s church, calling it the Hills Christian Life Centre. He chose the Hills, he told the ABC’s Australian Story some years ago, partly because of a hugely successful car dealer out there who “used to be on the TV and sell Holdens. And I thought to myself, ‘If you could build the largest Holden dealership in Australia there, surely it must be somewhere where you could build a church.’ ”

Houston soon hit spiritual pay dirt, teaming up with the man who would become one of his closest friends: gifted musician and former ABC technical operations officer Geoff Bullock, who wrote, directed and produced much of Hillsong’s music in those years (delivering three gold albums and a platinum in the process). A trip to the US in 1989 also proved a turning point.

A wide-eyed Houston was feted by pastors involved with the American Word of Faith movement and came back wearing what Bullock remembers as “the loudest shirts we had ever seen”. Everything else changed, too, according to Bullock: “The focus of Hillsong went from the standard Assemblies of God doctrine, which was more working-class and left-wing, to suddenly the prosperity doctrine.” As Hillsong leapt from success to success, Bullock found himself struggling with the increasingly frenetic pace, his own turmoil, and Houston’s leadership style. He finally parted company with Hillsong in 1995, having taken it to the brink of its international musical success. The rupture was wounding to both men.

Bullock tells Good Weekend: “I had an unshakeable spiritual revelation that it was time to leave. There had always been tensions in our relationship. Brian had a fiery temper and domineering leadership style and I was under relentless pressure.” Bullock’s former wife, Janine, says, “They demanded blood of him, but it still wasn’t enough.”

The sense of betrayal was deep on both sides. Over the ensuing years Houston has repeatedly claimed (without naming Bullock) that he had no warning of the departure of the man he then considered his best friend. Bullock emphatically disputes this.

Most distressing to Bullock – and others who admired his work – is that he has now been effectively airbrushed from Hillsong’s history.

By the late 1990s Hillsong was in gleaming purpose- built premises, and feted enough to have John Howard open its new convention centre in 2002. Brian Houston had by now risen to the hugely influential position of national president of the Assemblies of God (AOG), a movement with which Hillsong was affiliated.

In early 1999 Frank stepped aside from the city branch, asking his son to take over. Few knew Frank was secretly fending off the first of the child sexual abuse allegations that would crash around the church with the force of a tsunami.

In evidence before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse at the end of last year, Brian Houston said he’d had no inkling of his father’s dark secrets before October 1999.

He spoke of feeling shock and devastation, described how he had confronted his father at the first opportunity and – after convening a meeting of other AOG elders to discuss the crisis – forced Frank to stand aside (albeit on a pension) from further preaching duties.

But the counsel assisting the commission, Simeon Beckett, has taken a sterner view of the matter. Late last year he recommended Houston be referred to NSW police for failing to pass on that earliest claim of abuse (others involving at least six boys in New Zealand surfaced later). And he chastised Houston for failing to recognise the conflict of interest inherent in having carriage of the complaint against his father while also being head of Hillsong and head of the Assemblies of God.

My pictures and comments

brian houston zBrian Houston 1eBrian Houston 1g

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston 1ibrian houston xiiBrian Houston 4

trying to explain it away

Brian: trying to explain it away

The life of Brian

The life of Brian

The SMH article

Houston can barely contain his anger at Beckett’s recommendations. He maintains he respected the wishes of the victim, by then an adult, who had wanted the matter kept in-house; and that elders of the Assemblies of God had full knowledge and oversight of his handling of the affair.

Houston tells Good Weekend: “It didn’t really matter what the facts were, the counsel assisting [the commission] had his mind made up about what happened and never moved off it at any point.”

Frank died in 2004 aged 82, yet despite the gathering storm was still a respectable enough figure for then senior police officer (now NSW police commissioner) Andrew Scipione to attend his funeral. Scipione was also spotted at this year’s Hillsong conference, raising eyebrows among some of the church’s more trenchant critics.

My picture and comment

Phil Pringle. CEO of C3 International. Now a doctor. Regarded the pedophile Frank Houston as his spiritual father.

Phil Pringle. CEO of C3 International based in Sydney Australia. Now a Doctor. Regarded the Pedophile Frank Houston as his Spiritual Father. Has a little something in his syringe to help his mate Brian through all his many troubles.

The SMH article

As Frank’s dark secrets gradually unfurled, Brian Houston slid slowly into a growing dependence on sleeping pills.

In Live Love Lead, he describes falling prey to a growing disconnect between an inner emptiness and the church’s outward success. The climax came one night five years ago with a full-blown panic attack, which washed him up on a “great reef of jagged pain, fear and sorrow”. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, though he says he has now bounced back, through “the grace of God”.

Didn’t he feel he was living a lie through those years, telling others that faith was enough to deliver the good life, even as he was “imploding” inside?

“I don’t see that I was being fake at all,” he says. “I’ve never stopped loving people, never stopped loving God. “You call it a façade, but I don’t even see it like that, because to me, I was still genuine in everything I did.”

When Frank was 78, he told Brian that Frank’s own father had once abused him after coming home drunk.

“I think my father was homosexual, a closet homosexual,” says Houston, almost as an aside. “I’m no psychiatrist … but I think whatever frustrations he had, he took out on children.”

My comments:

“C’mon Brian, your dad was a child rapist all his life. Get over it. We’re all sick of you crapping on trying to sanitise yourself, your old rampant sicko pedophile dad, and your whole damn greedy avarice out-of-control family. Why don’t you just shut the whole darn thing down and go fishing or something?”

The SMH article:

The Hillsong United band takes the stage, its members in skinny jeans and T-shirts, frontman Joel Houston in an edgy black hat, as they pump up the volume under sweeping lights. “You take me higher than I’ve been before … You are everything I want and more.” Thousands sing along, arms upraised, eyes closed, in the grip of a kind of rapture. Somewhere here at the conference, keeping a lowish profile, is pop star Justin Bieber, who hangs out with Joel at Hillsong in New York. Joel is married to a fashion and lifestyle-blogging Brazilian model, Esther Lima Houston, who struts her stuff on misswhoo.com, providing “an unfiltered lifestyle platform for the modern woman”.

Happy, shiny people. Bullock once said he “came to think that the patron saint of Hillsong was Gianni Versace”. Jakubowicz says he’s “fascinated by how successfully Hillsong has integrated the various elements of contemporary culture into the whole story”.

Yet while it works hard at cultivating its hip, contemporary appeal, there is still little comfort to be found here for those who are openly homosexual. Former Hillsong regular Alex Pittaway, now studying theology in the US, says he saw one friend devastated after being told by the church that “we can’t have gay people in speaking or leadership roles”. He says others were left wounded after being directed towards what was known as “ex-gay reparative therapy”, aimed at “curing” them of homosexuality. “Gay people need to know that there is only so far they can go in Hillsong,” says Pittaway.

Anthony Venn-Brown, a former Assemblies of God pastor who broke with the movement after falling in love with a man, now runs Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International, an organisation aimed at building links between religious organisations and gay and bisexual Christians. He says Houston has a “heart for people” but “like many evangelical leaders is on a journey that requires greater understanding of sexual orientation”. Houston recently referred to gay marriage as the “elephant in the room” for the churches.

Hillsong’s finances are another perennial topic for critics, aired copiously on watchdog websites. (Infamously, in 1999 Houston put out a tome entitled You Need More Money; he regrets it now, though, insisting “the idea of the book, I think, was pure”.) In the past, Hillsong has encouraged tithing (rendering 10 per cent of income to the church) and is notorious for the “love offerings” it solicits at religious services for visiting preachers. Steve West, a former Hillsong regular who attended its leadership college 15 years ago, says Hillsong and its affiliates “are the only churches I know to have sermons designed to inspire giving, every single service. I have run a church ministry. This is totally unnecessary behaviour.”

The church’s financial operations are enmeshed in nine different corporate entities registered with the federal government’s Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, and despite Hillsong’s frequent promises of financial transparency, that’s not been the experience of West, who says when he sought access to the books he was rebuffed and demonised.

“Their response was along the lines of trying to shut me down – I got a letter from their lawyers, a cease and desist notice.” Hillsong rejects the claims and says it had to “take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from baseless and inappropriate comments”. The bulk of Hillsong’s tax-free millions appears to go towards funding its relentless expansion, and keeping its own intricate machinery running, though it does underwrite a range of charitable activities. In recent years it has raised nearly $1.5 million for victims of natural disasters abroad. It runs prison outreach services, offers free counselling to those unable to afford mental health treatment, and last year distributed more than 130,000 food and toy items. It says it reached thousands of people with its volunteer-run CityCare street teams.

In 2013 Houston attempted to quell speculation about how much he and his family were earning from the rivers of gold Hillsong was generating by posting an online letter entitled “Bobbie’s and My Finances”. He stated he was earning $150,000 that year from the church plus $150,000 from Leadership Ministries Incorporated (LMI), which he described as “the entity by which Bobbie and I conduct our broader ministry” worldwide as guest speakers. (There is a well-trodden circuit for celebrity pastors, who were thick on the ground at the Hillsong’s own conference this year.) Personal royalties were not clarified, nor were Bobbie’s earnings.

When Good Weekend asked for an update on this year’s figures, a church spokesman demurred, saying, “We do not disclose the remuneration arrangements of any individual employee due to privacy and confidentiality issues.” The 2014 return for LMI showed it had gross earnings of nearly $670,000 and two full-time employees, whose names Hillsong did not disclose.

In early July, Channel Nine’s A Current Affair took fresh aim at the church’s well-filled coffers and the heavy burden placed on church volunteers.

The segment included an interview outside Allphones Arena (as the Hillsong conference was underway) with Tanya Levin, author of People in Glass Houses: An Insider’s Story of Life In and Out of Hillsong, a critique of Hillsong published in 2007. Acting on a tip-off from a Hillsong member – who told police at the venue that Levin had previously been banned by the church from venturing onto any Hillsong property – including premises the church had hired for events – police swooped and arrested her. She now faces trespass charges and will appear in court again this month. Thus far Hillsong is refusing to comment on the case. However, it has again outraged church critics; West sees it as further evidence of an internal culture deeply averse to criticism.

“If you criticise them its because you have let in a ‘root of bitterness’ – these are the terms they use,” he claims. “Any Hillsong pastor who has strayed from the vision is quickly ostracised.”

Even those who like and admire Houston worry that the circle surrounding him may be overly deferential. Rosebrough argues that the fact that Hillsong and other family-dominated Pentecostal churches have no “traditional ecclesiastical oversight” makes them more vulnerable to potential conflicts between family interests and those of the organisation more broadly.

But Houston insists that “there are all the other incredible people around me … it’s not like I’m the king of Saudi or something.”

Reverend Tim Costello, a Baptist minister, believes Hillsong is doing good work among young Australians who would otherwise be like “beached whales who have lost their radar”.

“It’s much better being in church than doing ice in nightclubs,” he says. “Young people living in a land of plenty are yearning for both spirituality and a sense of justice, and when you bring these two things together it is a powerful statement of true Christian faith. I do believe Hillsong are trying to do this.”

Steve West is more blunt about where Hillsong’s appeal lies: “Moral certainty, community, a sense of identity. There is something so attractive about a black and white view of the world.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/inside-the-hillsong-churchs-moneymaking-machine-20151026-gkip53.html#ixzz3rUpUGrg9
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

My comments and pictures:

Why didn’t Deborah Snow ask a few tough questions like: “Were you ever abused by your old rampant evil child rapist father?” and “Why do you refuse point blank to help the boy and young male pedophile victims of the Founder of Hillsong, your father Frank Houston’s sexual abuses”.

Bobbie and Brian's mansion

Hillsong’s Queen and King. Bobbie and Brian’s mansion in Glenhaven Sydney Australia bought with Hillsong tithes.

The house of Bobbie and Brian.

The Mansion of Bobbie and Brian.

Brian Houston house 3 Brian Houston house 5

Brian and Bobbie Houston's McMansion Palace in Glenhaven, Western Sydney.

King Brian and Queen Bobbie Houston’s McMansion Palace in Glenhaven, Western Sydney.

Brian Houston house 8 Brian Houston house 9 Brian Houston house 11

Bobbie and Brian's house. Home theatre.

Bobbie and Brian Houston’s Home Theatre.

Donald Elley of Bellingen:

The article below was published in the Good Weekend section of the Sydney Morning Herald on 14 November 2015.

It’s pretty light-weight, the issues it raises have been covered many times before, and it doesn’t ask the hard questions, so it’s going to need my help to get it where it should be.

I’ll publish it now in full and make helpful comments as I go through it.

I’ll also add my own pictures and images.

Hillsong New York City 11

Josh Canfield Hillsong NYC gay worship leader with gay live-in partner Reed.

Josh Canfield Hillsong New York City gay worship leader with former gay live-in partner Reed. They were planning to marry at Hillsong but things didn’t work out. Josh helpfully informed us: “Our relationship is not yet consummated”, whatever that means, even though they lived together and hosted a gay Hillsong home bible study in their lounge (or bedroom?)

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) article:

Inside the Hillsong Church’s money-making machine

Sydney Morning Herald

November 14, 2015

Reporter: Deborah Snow

While Hillsong’s charismatic leader Brian Houston presides over a glitzy religious empire, he has not only had to face a Royal Commission grilling, but questions over theology, money and his church’s treatment of homosexuals.

My picture and comments:

Hi. I'm Bobbie Houston. Darlings, can't talk now. My ride is waiting. Going down to Double Bay to see my hairdresser and pop in to my Cosmetic Surgeon for a little touch-up.

Hi. I’m Bobbie Houston, Brian’s wife. “Darlings, can’t talk now. My chauffeur is waiting. Going down to Double Bay to see my hairdresser and pop in to my cosmetic surgeon for a little touch-up”.

The SMH article:

The charismatic leader of the Hillsong Church divides with his stance on homosexuality, wealth creation and the way he handled his father’s child abuse.

Sydney’s Allphones Arena looms out of the chilly dusk on a late June evening like one of painter Jeffrey Smart’s visions of urban dystopia.

Inside the cavernous space, the senior pastor and co-founder of the Hillsong Church, Brian Houston, is prowling the stage before more than 20,000 mesmerised souls who have flocked here for the opening of the church’s week-long annual conference, famed for its spectacle, fiery preaching and rock-concert atmosphere.

My picture and comments:

Pope Pete, the hip-hop groovy cool youth Pope of Baulkham Hills, Sydney , Australia. Formerly plain old Brian Houston from the bland grey suburb of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.

Pope Brain, the hip-hop groovy cool Youth Pope of Baulkham Hills, Sydney, Australia. Formerly plain old Brian Houston from the bland grey suburb of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.

The SMH article:

“I think my father was homosexual, a closet homosexual. I’m no psychiatrist … but I think whatever frustrations he had, he took out on children”.

My picture and comments:

Pastor Frank Houston. Lifelong pedophile. Answerable to God.

Pastor Frank Houston. Lifelong pedophile. Started abusing little boys aged 7 to 12 when he was in his teens, By the age of 20 he was a hardened pedophile. The covert secret pedophile Frank Houston decided that the Christian ministry was the best way to break down the defence mechanisms of good wholesome trusting Christian families and access their little boys and young males. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston probably sexually abused over 400 boys and young males in his lifetime, probably including his two sons, Brian and Graeme. Graeme refuses to go to church and Brian is in denial. I have definite proof through reliable testimony of victims of 13 boy and young teen victims, but mainly little boys aged 7 to 11. This is only the tip of the iceberg. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston was an extremely active pedophile for his whole adult lifetime. He confessed to his son Brian that he was “very active as a pedophile in the 1960s and 1970s”. This was when he was in his 40s and 50s”. This is when he sexually abused all the little boys that I know of. In the 1980s he switched his homosexual desires to young males in their 20s and 30s. He surrounded himself with young men in this demography at Christian Life Centre, Darlinghurst in the 1980s and 1990s. This was the first name of Hillsong. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston moved to Sydney to escape looming criminal charges for an out-of-control pedophile spree in New Zealand.

The SMH article:

The faithful, the curious, the spiritually hungry: they’re packed to the roof in tight rows, eyes fixed on this master showman. At 61, Houston seems the embodiment of Hillsong’s promise: olive-skinned, unlined brow, gleaming teeth, designer stubble, and powerful build set off by jeans, open-neck shirt and tailored jacket. A veritable poster boy for the boomer generation.

My picture and comments:

I wonder if Brian will ever be led away like this.

I wonder if Brian will ever be led away like this. He won’t be looking so young and bouncy, as described above, if the NSW Justice System prosecutes him for not reporting his old pedophile dad to the NSW Police in 1999 when he should have, according to his statutory duty as a leader of a large Christian organisation. For five years Brian sheltered his old pedophile dad Frank Houston for until he died, his mortal soul going into God’s Hands.

The SMH article:

He’s in full flight – cajoling, conversing, proselytising – when suddenly he drops like a stone to the stage and launches into a series of push-ups.

My pictures and comments:

Brian Houston at CLC Darlinghurst 1982.

Brian Houston of Hillsong

When I listen to Brian Houston preaching, I think he’s insane. I think, “how can any rational and conscious human being listen to his trollop?”

The SMH article:

“We are lean, mean kingdom machines, all set for everything that God wants to do in this place. Amen! Amen!” he proclaims, pumping the stage as they stomp and cheer.

“Your words can frame your future,” he tells them. “Speak your faith, start seeing miracles … Owner of your first home! Best-selling author … Mother of handsome sons and beautiful daughters! Businessman who is prosperous and fruitful! Your brother’s salvation, your sister’s healing … Speak it into being! Speak it into being! Speak it into being! Amen!”

My comments: 

Who does Brian Houston think Australians are? A bunch of bogans?

I’d say there aren’t many, if any, articulate, reflective, intelligent, rational people left at Hillsong.

They’ve all been shunted out the Hillsong door.

Brian Houston’s preaching makes me want to puke.

The SMH article:

The uplifting mood is punctured for me two days later when I’m hauled out of my $300 conference seat near the rafters by a burly security guard wearing a Hillsong T-shirt. My sin, apparently, is to have made people “feel uncomfortable” by writing in a notebook and asking the young chap next to me a few questions.

My comments and picture:

In my recent Hillsong Insider series, the Hillsong Insider has been expressing how he feels Hillsong Security are a bunch of thugs, and how Senior Pastor Steve McGhie is an insensitive bogan.

The above incident demonstrates the Hillsong Insiders point. Hillsong have really lost it.

Pastor Steve McGhie

Pastor Steve McGhie. Senior Pastor at Hillsong City Church in Waterloo. Brian Houston’s goof-ball bro-in- law. God help us. God help the naive believing inexperienced Hillsong young faithful.  About Steve McGhie, the Hillsong Insider who I’ve interviewed, says: “Steve McGhie is Racist, Bigoted and Unloving. Steve McGhie has no heart for the poor and downtrodden of Sydney’s Inner City, Hillsong City’s neighbours. That Steve McGhie hates Aboriginal. That he hates lesbians and calls them “lady-lovers” and throws them out the Hillsong door”.

The SMH article:

Brian Houston speaks to the media after appearing at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in October last year.

My photograph and comments:

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston: His gospel is that “Greed is Good”. This is the polar opposite of the words and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the mighty Apostle Paul. Brian Houston doesn’t know the Lord Jesus Christ.

The SMH article:

When I ask Houston some days afterwards about this subtle undercurrent of paranoia, he expresses surprise. He suggests it could have been a response to his stark warnings from the stage about Channel Nine’s A Current Affair, which had been quizzing Hillsongers outside the conference about their financial contributions to the church (a perennial sore point).

“ACA just lies” he says, eyes blazing. “Full stop. You can quote me. They are just liars.”

My photographs and comments:

Brian Houston 1b

Pastor Brian Houston, the criminal pedophile Frank Houston's son. In denial.

Pastor Brian Houston, the criminal pedophile Frank Houston’s son. In denial.

 

The SMH article:

There’s more bristling when talk turns to the darkest cloud currently sitting on Hillsong’s horizon, the fallout from his appearance at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse last year (of which more later). “In their eyes, I didn’t do a thing right,” he says defiantly. Hillsong’s reputation for being on the thin-skinned side is starting to make some sense.

My photograph and comments:

Big bro Brian Hoston CEO of Hillsong organisation:

Brian Houston CEO of the Hillsong organisation at Day One of the Royal Commission: “Could you please repeat the question… Could you please repeat the question… Could you please repeat the question?” I think Brian’s psychiatrist lowered the dose level of his medications for Day Two of the Royal Commission.

The SMH article:

Our interview takes place in a private suite of rooms upstairs at the sprawling church complex in Alexandria (one of several valuable Sydney sites Hillsong owns) just as he’s about to jet off overseas for three months on church business.

Houston and his equally burnished wife, Bobbie, 58, the reigning couple of Australian Pentecostalism, are riding the crest of a wave that shows no signs of breaking. The Hillsong empire they founded (she, too, is a senior pastor) pulled in tax-free revenues of nearly $80 million in Australia last year and more than $100 million internationally. It is on the ground in 15 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas, and broadcast in 160 nations. And it’s still growing. “I don’t feel there are any limits on how far we should try and go to reach as many people as we possibly can,” Houston says.

My pictures and comments:

Pastor Brian Houston.

Pastor Brian Houston. “No limits”.

Senior Joint Head Pastor of Hillsong international and the Hillsong Kingdoms stretching to the ends of the earth, as far as the vultures and eagle eyes can see.

Queen Bee Bobbie Houston. Eternal Princess and Queen Bee of the Hillsong Sisterhood. Botoxed to the Brim. Travels the world in luxury. No expense spared. Lives in a Houston McMansion in Glenhaven West Sydney. Only the very best will do for Queen Bobbie. 

The SMH article:

Their three grown children all hold leadership positions within the church (though Houston flatly rejects suggestions it’s looking like a family business).

Sons Ben, 33, and Joel, 37, lead the charge in the US, with Ben having “planted” a Hillsong offshoot in LA and Joel becoming assistant pastor in New York. Daughter Laura, 28, and son-in-law Peter Toganivalu are youth pastors at Hillsong in Sydney.

My pictures and comments:

Joel Houston. Mummy's boy. Mummy spoils her kids rotten.

Joel Houston. Mummy’s boy. Mummy spoils her kids rotten.

“Pastor”Joel Houston. Pampered. Great sense of entitlement. “I’m Amazing. I’m the great Brian Houston’s son…Praise the Lord I’m Amazing”. Co-pastor of Hillsong New York City. Frank Houston’s talented grandson.

“Pastor” Joel Houston and “Pastor” Carl Lentz. Head pastors of Hillsong New York City. Gay lovers.

The SMH article:

There are bible training colleges, a Hillsong Performing Arts Academy, a Hollywood-produced film in the works, and Brian and Bobbie’s many books, CDs and DVDs. Underpinning it all is the hugely successful and lucrative Hillsong United rock band, fronted by Joel, which has soared to stratospheric heights on US Christian music charts.

It’s all too much for critics such as American pastor Chris Rosebrough, who labels Hillsong an “evangelical/ industrial complex” and Houston the “CEO of an international multimedia entertainment company” that “happens to have venues around the world where they do something they call church”.

Rosebrough runs Pirate Christian Radio, an online religious radio network that regularly takes aim at what he calls Hillsong’s “big box” approach to Christianity with its “squishy self-help inspirational messages” and “rock and roll laser light show”. More fundamentally, he takes issue with Hillsong’s theology, accusing Houston of teaching the “Word of Faith heresy”.

“It teaches that God wants you to be rich and prosperous so that you can be a blessing to other people, and that you do this by creating the future with your words,” he tells Good Weekend from his base in North Dakota. “It distorts the scriptures, and it’s a doctrine that wasn’t even taught until American televangelists invented it maybe 30 to 40 years ago.”

A similar queasiness about Hillsong’s messaging is felt by a number of mainstream church leaders here, though there is greater reluctance to say so openly.

“Brian’s intuitive genius is marketing,” says one senior churchman, who asks not to be quoted. “Hillsong is a culture – success, beautiful people, a positive message and nothing negative. The message is, ‘You’re awesome and God is awesome and we are God’s chosen and we have to be seen to be awesome.’ And when you tease out what awesome means, it basically means prosperity. They go very close to going that to be poor is sinful, to be saved successful.”

Sociologist Andrew Jakubowicz, of the University of Technology Sydney, observes that “this is not a church where the leader washes the feet of beggars”.

My picture and comments:

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston: “Greed is good”. “I’d wash the feet of beggars if I knew any but I’d rather get them to tithe their Social Security Pension”.

The SMH article:

But Houston is unapologetic about the self- advancement psychology embedded in Hillsong’s message. “I’d rather give people some hope than no hope,” he says. “We encourage them to look to Jesus and build their lives on the right foundations. My methods are relatable in a world where many say the church is a dying force. And I’m not prepared as a church leader to just sit there and let it die.”

Just as the Murdochs have taken three generations to build an empire, the Houstons have taken three generations to build Hillsong into the behemoth it is today. The more it grows, the more adherents see this as proof of divine endorsement.

“People are not looking for stale religion” with “dilapidated buildings filled with narrow-minded, self-righteous finger pointers”, Houston writes in his most recent book, Live Love Lead, released in July. “I am convinced beyond a doubt that God didn’t create us to live mediocre, settle-for-less lives.”

There was nothing settle-for-less about Brian’s father, William Francis “Frank” Houston, a consummate showman and gifted preacher whom Houston hero- worshipped as a boy. As a youngster, he would wave his dad off “longingly” on ministry trips, “believing that I, too, would do just that one day.”

Yet Frank, the empire-founder, was very nearly its undoing. In 1999, sensational allegations surfaced that he had been a serial paedophile, preying on boys and young men whom he had met through the church.

The revelations were shocking, perhaps less so to those familiar with Frank’s inauspicious start as a churchman. A former New Zealand Salvation Army officer who had left that organisation under a cloud when awkward discrepancies showed up in the local accounts, Frank suffered several nervous breakdowns in young adulthood. At least one episode required hospitalisation. So destitute were he and his young family that at one point they possessed nothing beyond “six forks, two pairs of blankets and an old radio”, according to his stalwart wife, Hazel.

The man who saved Frank Houston was a barnstorming Pentecostal preacher, Ray Bloomfield, who took him on as a kind of apprentice at a church near Auckland in the late 1950s.

Under Bloomfield’s tutelage, Frank became entranced by Pentecostalism, a form of charismatic Christian worship that celebrates exuberant physical manifestations of religious ecstasy such as the incomprehensible babbling known as “speaking in tongues”.

In her 1989 book, Being Frank, Hazel recalled how her husband would kneel in prayer “as close to Ray as possible so that he might experience the gushings of Ray’s tongues”.

When Bloomfield eventually left New Zealand for Canada, he handed his church over to Frank who, by some never fully explained process, became an Assemblies of God minister in his own right. He became an entertaining preacher who would “do crazy things like throw a glass of water over the congregation and make funny jokes – he endeared himself to a lot of people”, recalls one former pastor.

Frank’s enjoyment of the company of young men was noted, but rang no alarm bells at the time. It was always seen as “Frank being this father figure to young, gentle men”.

His fierce ambitions for a successor centred on his second son, Brian, rather than eldest, Graeme, who became a fireman and moved to Britain.

In early 1999, just before the first whiff of scandal hit, Frank issued his own book, The Release of the Human Spirit, in which he described laying hands on the infant Brian and beseeching the Lord to “make this boy grow to be a mighty man of God”.

The Houstons arrived in Sydney in 1977 after a divine visitation ordered Frank to “plant a church” in the harbour city. They set up the Sydney Christian Life Centre, initially in Double Bay, and ran it on a shoestring, with newlyweds Brian (then aged 24) and Bobbie coming out from NZ to help them a year later. Brian washed windows to make ends meet, the younger couple eventually buying themselves what one former friend recalls as a “tiny little bungalow in Kings Langley”.

In 1983, Brian Houston ventured out to nearby Baulkham Hills in the city’s north-west to set up an offshoot of his father’s church, calling it the Hills Christian Life Centre. He chose the Hills, he told the ABC’s Australian Story some years ago, partly because of a hugely successful car dealer out there who “used to be on the TV and sell Holdens. And I thought to myself, ‘If you could build the largest Holden dealership in Australia there, surely it must be somewhere where you could build a church.’ ”

Houston soon hit spiritual pay dirt, teaming up with the man who would become one of his closest friends: gifted musician and former ABC technical operations officer Geoff Bullock, who wrote, directed and produced much of Hillsong’s music in those years (delivering three gold albums and a platinum in the process). A trip to the US in 1989 also proved a turning point.

A wide-eyed Houston was feted by pastors involved with the American Word of Faith movement and came back wearing what Bullock remembers as “the loudest shirts we had ever seen”. Everything else changed, too, according to Bullock: “The focus of Hillsong went from the standard Assemblies of God doctrine, which was more working-class and left-wing, to suddenly the prosperity doctrine.” As Hillsong leapt from success to success, Bullock found himself struggling with the increasingly frenetic pace, his own turmoil, and Houston’s leadership style. He finally parted company with Hillsong in 1995, having taken it to the brink of its international musical success. The rupture was wounding to both men.

Bullock tells Good Weekend: “I had an unshakeable spiritual revelation that it was time to leave. There had always been tensions in our relationship. Brian had a fiery temper and domineering leadership style and I was under relentless pressure.” Bullock’s former wife, Janine, says, “They demanded blood of him, but it still wasn’t enough.”

The sense of betrayal was deep on both sides. Over the ensuing years Houston has repeatedly claimed (without naming Bullock) that he had no warning of the departure of the man he then considered his best friend. Bullock emphatically disputes this.

Most distressing to Bullock – and others who admired his work – is that he has now been effectively airbrushed from Hillsong’s history.

By the late 1990s Hillsong was in gleaming purpose- built premises, and feted enough to have John Howard open its new convention centre in 2002. Brian Houston had by now risen to the hugely influential position of national president of the Assemblies of God (AOG), a movement with which Hillsong was affiliated.

In early 1999 Frank stepped aside from the city branch, asking his son to take over. Few knew Frank was secretly fending off the first of the child sexual abuse allegations that would crash around the church with the force of a tsunami.

In evidence before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse at the end of last year, Brian Houston said he’d had no inkling of his father’s dark secrets before October 1999.

He spoke of feeling shock and devastation, described how he had confronted his father at the first opportunity and – after convening a meeting of other AOG elders to discuss the crisis – forced Frank to stand aside (albeit on a pension) from further preaching duties.

But the counsel assisting the commission, Simeon Beckett, has taken a sterner view of the matter. Late last year he recommended Houston be referred to NSW police for failing to pass on that earliest claim of abuse (others involving at least six boys in New Zealand surfaced later). And he chastised Houston for failing to recognise the conflict of interest inherent in having carriage of the complaint against his father while also being head of Hillsong and head of the Assemblies of God.

My pictures and comments

brian houston zBrian Houston 1eBrian Houston 1g

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston 1ibrian houston xiiBrian Houston 4

trying to explain it away

Brian: trying to explain it away

The life of Brian

The life of Brian

The SMH article

Houston can barely contain his anger at Beckett’s recommendations. He maintains he respected the wishes of the victim, by then an adult, who had wanted the matter kept in-house; and that elders of the Assemblies of God had full knowledge and oversight of his handling of the affair.

Houston tells Good Weekend: “It didn’t really matter what the facts were, the counsel assisting [the commission] had his mind made up about what happened and never moved off it at any point.”

Frank died in 2004 aged 82, yet despite the gathering storm was still a respectable enough figure for then senior police officer (now NSW police commissioner) Andrew Scipione to attend his funeral. Scipione was also spotted at this year’s Hillsong conference, raising eyebrows among some of the church’s more trenchant critics.

My picture and comment

Phil Pringle. CEO of C3 International. Now a doctor. Regarded the pedophile Frank Houston as his spiritual father.

Phil Pringle. CEO of C3 International based in Sydney Australia. Now a Doctor. Regarded the Pedophile Frank Houston as his Spiritual Father. Has a little something in his syringe to help his mate Brian through all his many troubles.

The SMH article

As Frank’s dark secrets gradually unfurled, Brian Houston slid slowly into a growing dependence on sleeping pills.

In Live Love Lead, he describes falling prey to a growing disconnect between an inner emptiness and the church’s outward success. The climax came one night five years ago with a full-blown panic attack, which washed him up on a “great reef of jagged pain, fear and sorrow”. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, though he says he has now bounced back, through “the grace of God”.

Didn’t he feel he was living a lie through those years, telling others that faith was enough to deliver the good life, even as he was “imploding” inside?

“I don’t see that I was being fake at all,” he says. “I’ve never stopped loving people, never stopped loving God. “You call it a façade, but I don’t even see it like that, because to me, I was still genuine in everything I did.”

When Frank was 78, he told Brian that Frank’s own father had once abused him after coming home drunk.

“I think my father was homosexual, a closet homosexual,” says Houston, almost as an aside. “I’m no psychiatrist … but I think whatever frustrations he had, he took out on children.”

My comments:

“C’mon Brian, your dad was a child rapist all his life. Get over it. We’re all sick of you crapping on trying to sanitise yourself, your old rampant sicko pedophile dad, and your whole damn greedy avarice out-of-control family. Why don’t you just shut the whole darn thing down and go fishing or something?”

The SMH article:

The Hillsong United band takes the stage, its members in skinny jeans and T-shirts, frontman Joel Houston in an edgy black hat, as they pump up the volume under sweeping lights. “You take me higher than I’ve been before … You are everything I want and more.” Thousands sing along, arms upraised, eyes closed, in the grip of a kind of rapture. Somewhere here at the conference, keeping a lowish profile, is pop star Justin Bieber, who hangs out with Joel at Hillsong in New York. Joel is married to a fashion and lifestyle-blogging Brazilian model, Esther Lima Houston, who struts her stuff on misswhoo.com, providing “an unfiltered lifestyle platform for the modern woman”.

Happy, shiny people. Bullock once said he “came to think that the patron saint of Hillsong was Gianni Versace”. Jakubowicz says he’s “fascinated by how successfully Hillsong has integrated the various elements of contemporary culture into the whole story”.

Yet while it works hard at cultivating its hip, contemporary appeal, there is still little comfort to be found here for those who are openly homosexual. Former Hillsong regular Alex Pittaway, now studying theology in the US, says he saw one friend devastated after being told by the church that “we can’t have gay people in speaking or leadership roles”. He says others were left wounded after being directed towards what was known as “ex-gay reparative therapy”, aimed at “curing” them of homosexuality. “Gay people need to know that there is only so far they can go in Hillsong,” says Pittaway.

Anthony Venn-Brown, a former Assemblies of God pastor who broke with the movement after falling in love with a man, now runs Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International, an organisation aimed at building links between religious organisations and gay and bisexual Christians. He says Houston has a “heart for people” but “like many evangelical leaders is on a journey that requires greater understanding of sexual orientation”. Houston recently referred to gay marriage as the “elephant in the room” for the churches.

Hillsong’s finances are another perennial topic for critics, aired copiously on watchdog websites. (Infamously, in 1999 Houston put out a tome entitled You Need More Money; he regrets it now, though, insisting “the idea of the book, I think, was pure”.) In the past, Hillsong has encouraged tithing (rendering 10 per cent of income to the church) and is notorious for the “love offerings” it solicits at religious services for visiting preachers. Steve West, a former Hillsong regular who attended its leadership college 15 years ago, says Hillsong and its affiliates “are the only churches I know to have sermons designed to inspire giving, every single service. I have run a church ministry. This is totally unnecessary behaviour.”

The church’s financial operations are enmeshed in nine different corporate entities registered with the federal government’s Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, and despite Hillsong’s frequent promises of financial transparency, that’s not been the experience of West, who says when he sought access to the books he was rebuffed and demonised.

“Their response was along the lines of trying to shut me down – I got a letter from their lawyers, a cease and desist notice.” Hillsong rejects the claims and says it had to “take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from baseless and inappropriate comments”. The bulk of Hillsong’s tax-free millions appears to go towards funding its relentless expansion, and keeping its own intricate machinery running, though it does underwrite a range of charitable activities. In recent years it has raised nearly $1.5 million for victims of natural disasters abroad. It runs prison outreach services, offers free counselling to those unable to afford mental health treatment, and last year distributed more than 130,000 food and toy items. It says it reached thousands of people with its volunteer-run CityCare street teams.

In 2013 Houston attempted to quell speculation about how much he and his family were earning from the rivers of gold Hillsong was generating by posting an online letter entitled “Bobbie’s and My Finances”. He stated he was earning $150,000 that year from the church plus $150,000 from Leadership Ministries Incorporated (LMI), which he described as “the entity by which Bobbie and I conduct our broader ministry” worldwide as guest speakers. (There is a well-trodden circuit for celebrity pastors, who were thick on the ground at the Hillsong’s own conference this year.) Personal royalties were not clarified, nor were Bobbie’s earnings.

When Good Weekend asked for an update on this year’s figures, a church spokesman demurred, saying, “We do not disclose the remuneration arrangements of any individual employee due to privacy and confidentiality issues.” The 2014 return for LMI showed it had gross earnings of nearly $670,000 and two full-time employees, whose names Hillsong did not disclose.

In early July, Channel Nine’s A Current Affair took fresh aim at the church’s well-filled coffers and the heavy burden placed on church volunteers.

The segment included an interview outside Allphones Arena (as the Hillsong conference was underway) with Tanya Levin, author of People in Glass Houses: An Insider’s Story of Life In and Out of Hillsong, a critique of Hillsong published in 2007. Acting on a tip-off from a Hillsong member – who told police at the venue that Levin had previously been banned by the church from venturing onto any Hillsong property – including premises the church had hired for events – police swooped and arrested her. She now faces trespass charges and will appear in court again this month. Thus far Hillsong is refusing to comment on the case. However, it has again outraged church critics; West sees it as further evidence of an internal culture deeply averse to criticism.

“If you criticise them its because you have let in a ‘root of bitterness’ – these are the terms they use,” he claims. “Any Hillsong pastor who has strayed from the vision is quickly ostracised.”

Even those who like and admire Houston worry that the circle surrounding him may be overly deferential. Rosebrough argues that the fact that Hillsong and other family-dominated Pentecostal churches have no “traditional ecclesiastical oversight” makes them more vulnerable to potential conflicts between family interests and those of the organisation more broadly.

But Houston insists that “there are all the other incredible people around me … it’s not like I’m the king of Saudi or something.”

Reverend Tim Costello, a Baptist minister, believes Hillsong is doing good work among young Australians who would otherwise be like “beached whales who have lost their radar”.

“It’s much better being in church than doing ice in nightclubs,” he says. “Young people living in a land of plenty are yearning for both spirituality and a sense of justice, and when you bring these two things together it is a powerful statement of true Christian faith. I do believe Hillsong are trying to do this.”

Steve West is more blunt about where Hillsong’s appeal lies: “Moral certainty, community, a sense of identity. There is something so attractive about a black and white view of the world.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/inside-the-hillsong-churchs-moneymaking-machine-20151026-gkip53.html#ixzz3rUpUGrg9
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

My comments and pictures:

Why didn’t Deborah Snow ask a few tough questions like: “Were you ever abused by your old rampant evil child rapist father?” and “Why do you refuse point blank to help the boy and young male pedophile victims of the Founder of Hillsong, your father Frank Houston’s sexual abuses”.

Bobbie and Brian's mansion

Hillsong’s Queen and King. Bobbie and Brian’s mansion in Glenhaven Sydney Australia bought with Hillsong tithes.

The house of Bobbie and Brian.

The Mansion of Bobbie and Brian.

Brian Houston house 3 Brian Houston house 5

Brian and Bobbie Houston's McMansion Palace in Glenhaven, Western Sydney.

King Brian and Queen Bobbie Houston’s McMansion Palace in Glenhaven, Western Sydney.

Brian Houston house 8 Brian Houston house 9 Brian Houston house 11

Bobbie and Brian's house. Home theatre.

Bobbie and Brian Houston’s Home Theatre.

Donald Elley of Bellingen:

The article below was published in the Good Weekend section of the Sydney Morning Herald on 14 November 2015.

It’s pretty light-weight, the issues it raises have been covered many times before, and it doesn’t ask the hard questions, so it’s going to need my help to get it where it should be.

I’ll publish it now in full and make helpful comments as I go through it.

I’ll also add my own pictures and images.

Hillsong New York City 11

Josh Canfield Hillsong NYC gay worship leader with gay live-in partner Reed.

Josh Canfield Hillsong New York City gay worship leader with former gay live-in partner Reed. They were planning to marry at Hillsong but things didn’t work out. Josh helpfully informed us: “Our relationship is not yet consummated”, whatever that means, even though they lived together and hosted a gay Hillsong home bible study in their lounge (or bedroom?)

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) article:

Inside the Hillsong Church’s money-making machine

Sydney Morning Herald

November 14, 2015

Reporter: Deborah Snow

While Hillsong’s charismatic leader Brian Houston presides over a glitzy religious empire, he has not only had to face a Royal Commission grilling, but questions over theology, money and his church’s treatment of homosexuals.

My picture and comments:

Hi. I'm Bobbie Houston. Darlings, can't talk now. My ride is waiting. Going down to Double Bay to see my hairdresser and pop in to my Cosmetic Surgeon for a little touch-up.

Hi. I’m Bobbie Houston, Brian’s wife. “Darlings, can’t talk now. My chauffeur is waiting. Going down to Double Bay to see my hairdresser and pop in to my cosmetic surgeon for a little touch-up”.

The SMH article:

The charismatic leader of the Hillsong Church divides with his stance on homosexuality, wealth creation and the way he handled his father’s child abuse.

Sydney’s Allphones Arena looms out of the chilly dusk on a late June evening like one of painter Jeffrey Smart’s visions of urban dystopia.

Inside the cavernous space, the senior pastor and co-founder of the Hillsong Church, Brian Houston, is prowling the stage before more than 20,000 mesmerised souls who have flocked here for the opening of the church’s week-long annual conference, famed for its spectacle, fiery preaching and rock-concert atmosphere.

My picture and comments:

Pope Pete, the hip-hop groovy cool youth Pope of Baulkham Hills, Sydney , Australia. Formerly plain old Brian Houston from the bland grey suburb of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.

Pope Brain, the hip-hop groovy cool Youth Pope of Baulkham Hills, Sydney, Australia. Formerly plain old Brian Houston from the bland grey suburb of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.

The SMH article:

“I think my father was homosexual, a closet homosexual. I’m no psychiatrist … but I think whatever frustrations he had, he took out on children”.

My picture and comments:

Pastor Frank Houston. Lifelong pedophile. Answerable to God.

Pastor Frank Houston. Lifelong pedophile. Started abusing little boys aged 7 to 12 when he was in his teens, By the age of 20 he was a hardened pedophile. The covert secret pedophile Frank Houston decided that the Christian ministry was the best way to break down the defence mechanisms of good wholesome trusting Christian families and access their little boys and young males. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston probably sexually abused over 400 boys and young males in his lifetime, probably including his two sons, Brian and Graeme. Graeme refuses to go to church and Brian is in denial. I have definite proof through reliable testimony of victims of 13 boy and young teen victims, but mainly little boys aged 7 to 11. This is only the tip of the iceberg. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston was an extremely active pedophile for his whole adult lifetime. He confessed to his son Brian that he was “very active as a pedophile in the 1960s and 1970s”. This was when he was in his 40s and 50s”. This is when he sexually abused all the little boys that I know of. In the 1980s he switched his homosexual desires to young males in their 20s and 30s. He surrounded himself with young men in this demography at Christian Life Centre, Darlinghurst in the 1980s and 1990s. This was the first name of Hillsong. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston moved to Sydney to escape looming criminal charges for an out-of-control pedophile spree in New Zealand.

The SMH article:

The faithful, the curious, the spiritually hungry: they’re packed to the roof in tight rows, eyes fixed on this master showman. At 61, Houston seems the embodiment of Hillsong’s promise: olive-skinned, unlined brow, gleaming teeth, designer stubble, and powerful build set off by jeans, open-neck shirt and tailored jacket. A veritable poster boy for the boomer generation.

My picture and comments:

I wonder if Brian will ever be led away like this.

I wonder if Brian will ever be led away like this. He won’t be looking so young and bouncy, as described above, if the NSW Justice System prosecutes him for not reporting his old pedophile dad to the NSW Police in 1999 when he should have, according to his statutory duty as a leader of a large Christian organisation. For five years Brian sheltered his old pedophile dad Frank Houston for until he died, his mortal soul going into God’s Hands.

The SMH article:

He’s in full flight – cajoling, conversing, proselytising – when suddenly he drops like a stone to the stage and launches into a series of push-ups.

My pictures and comments:

Brian Houston at CLC Darlinghurst 1982.

Brian Houston of Hillsong

When I listen to Brian Houston preaching, I think he’s insane. I think, “how can any rational and conscious human being listen to his trollop?”

The SMH article:

“We are lean, mean kingdom machines, all set for everything that God wants to do in this place. Amen! Amen!” he proclaims, pumping the stage as they stomp and cheer.

“Your words can frame your future,” he tells them. “Speak your faith, start seeing miracles … Owner of your first home! Best-selling author … Mother of handsome sons and beautiful daughters! Businessman who is prosperous and fruitful! Your brother’s salvation, your sister’s healing … Speak it into being! Speak it into being! Speak it into being! Amen!”

My comments: 

Who does Brian Houston think Australians are? A bunch of bogans?

I’d say there aren’t many, if any, articulate, reflective, intelligent, rational people left at Hillsong.

They’ve all been shunted out the Hillsong door.

Brian Houston’s preaching makes me want to puke.

The SMH article:

The uplifting mood is punctured for me two days later when I’m hauled out of my $300 conference seat near the rafters by a burly security guard wearing a Hillsong T-shirt. My sin, apparently, is to have made people “feel uncomfortable” by writing in a notebook and asking the young chap next to me a few questions.

My comments and picture:

In my recent Hillsong Insider series, the Hillsong Insider has been expressing how he feels Hillsong Security are a bunch of thugs, and how Senior Pastor Steve McGhie is an insensitive bogan.

The above incident demonstrates the Hillsong Insiders point. Hillsong have really lost it.

Pastor Steve McGhie

Pastor Steve McGhie. Senior Pastor at Hillsong City Church in Waterloo. Brian Houston’s goof-ball bro-in- law. God help us. God help the naive believing inexperienced Hillsong young faithful.  About Steve McGhie, the Hillsong Insider who I’ve interviewed, says: “Steve McGhie is Racist, Bigoted and Unloving. Steve McGhie has no heart for the poor and downtrodden of Sydney’s Inner City, Hillsong City’s neighbours. That Steve McGhie hates Aboriginal. That he hates lesbians and calls them “lady-lovers” and throws them out the Hillsong door”.

The SMH article:

Brian Houston speaks to the media after appearing at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in October last year.

My photograph and comments:

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston: His gospel is that “Greed is Good”. This is the polar opposite of the words and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the mighty Apostle Paul. Brian Houston doesn’t know the Lord Jesus Christ.

The SMH article:

When I ask Houston some days afterwards about this subtle undercurrent of paranoia, he expresses surprise. He suggests it could have been a response to his stark warnings from the stage about Channel Nine’s A Current Affair, which had been quizzing Hillsongers outside the conference about their financial contributions to the church (a perennial sore point).

“ACA just lies” he says, eyes blazing. “Full stop. You can quote me. They are just liars.”

My photographs and comments:

Brian Houston 1b

Pastor Brian Houston, the criminal pedophile Frank Houston's son. In denial.

Pastor Brian Houston, the criminal pedophile Frank Houston’s son. In denial.

 

The SMH article:

There’s more bristling when talk turns to the darkest cloud currently sitting on Hillsong’s horizon, the fallout from his appearance at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse last year (of which more later). “In their eyes, I didn’t do a thing right,” he says defiantly. Hillsong’s reputation for being on the thin-skinned side is starting to make some sense.

My photograph and comments:

Big bro Brian Hoston CEO of Hillsong organisation:

Brian Houston CEO of the Hillsong organisation at Day One of the Royal Commission: “Could you please repeat the question… Could you please repeat the question… Could you please repeat the question?” I think Brian’s psychiatrist lowered the dose level of his medications for Day Two of the Royal Commission.

The SMH article:

Our interview takes place in a private suite of rooms upstairs at the sprawling church complex in Alexandria (one of several valuable Sydney sites Hillsong owns) just as he’s about to jet off overseas for three months on church business.

Houston and his equally burnished wife, Bobbie, 58, the reigning couple of Australian Pentecostalism, are riding the crest of a wave that shows no signs of breaking. The Hillsong empire they founded (she, too, is a senior pastor) pulled in tax-free revenues of nearly $80 million in Australia last year and more than $100 million internationally. It is on the ground in 15 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas, and broadcast in 160 nations. And it’s still growing. “I don’t feel there are any limits on how far we should try and go to reach as many people as we possibly can,” Houston says.

My pictures and comments:

Pastor Brian Houston.

Pastor Brian Houston. “No limits”.

Senior Joint Head Pastor of Hillsong international and the Hillsong Kingdoms stretching to the ends of the earth, as far as the vultures and eagle eyes can see.

Queen Bee Bobbie Houston. Eternal Princess and Queen Bee of the Hillsong Sisterhood. Botoxed to the Brim. Travels the world in luxury. No expense spared. Lives in a Houston McMansion in Glenhaven West Sydney. Only the very best will do for Queen Bobbie. 

The SMH article:

Their three grown children all hold leadership positions within the church (though Houston flatly rejects suggestions it’s looking like a family business).

Sons Ben, 33, and Joel, 37, lead the charge in the US, with Ben having “planted” a Hillsong offshoot in LA and Joel becoming assistant pastor in New York. Daughter Laura, 28, and son-in-law Peter Toganivalu are youth pastors at Hillsong in Sydney.

My pictures and comments:

Joel Houston. Mummy's boy. Mummy spoils her kids rotten.

Joel Houston. Mummy’s boy. Mummy spoils her kids rotten.

“Pastor”Joel Houston. Pampered. Great sense of entitlement. “I’m Amazing. I’m the great Brian Houston’s son…Praise the Lord I’m Amazing”. Co-pastor of Hillsong New York City. Frank Houston’s talented grandson.

“Pastor” Joel Houston and “Pastor” Carl Lentz. Head pastors of Hillsong New York City. Gay lovers.

The SMH article:

There are bible training colleges, a Hillsong Performing Arts Academy, a Hollywood-produced film in the works, and Brian and Bobbie’s many books, CDs and DVDs. Underpinning it all is the hugely successful and lucrative Hillsong United rock band, fronted by Joel, which has soared to stratospheric heights on US Christian music charts.

It’s all too much for critics such as American pastor Chris Rosebrough, who labels Hillsong an “evangelical/ industrial complex” and Houston the “CEO of an international multimedia entertainment company” that “happens to have venues around the world where they do something they call church”.

Rosebrough runs Pirate Christian Radio, an online religious radio network that regularly takes aim at what he calls Hillsong’s “big box” approach to Christianity with its “squishy self-help inspirational messages” and “rock and roll laser light show”. More fundamentally, he takes issue with Hillsong’s theology, accusing Houston of teaching the “Word of Faith heresy”.

“It teaches that God wants you to be rich and prosperous so that you can be a blessing to other people, and that you do this by creating the future with your words,” he tells Good Weekend from his base in North Dakota. “It distorts the scriptures, and it’s a doctrine that wasn’t even taught until American televangelists invented it maybe 30 to 40 years ago.”

A similar queasiness about Hillsong’s messaging is felt by a number of mainstream church leaders here, though there is greater reluctance to say so openly.

“Brian’s intuitive genius is marketing,” says one senior churchman, who asks not to be quoted. “Hillsong is a culture – success, beautiful people, a positive message and nothing negative. The message is, ‘You’re awesome and God is awesome and we are God’s chosen and we have to be seen to be awesome.’ And when you tease out what awesome means, it basically means prosperity. They go very close to going that to be poor is sinful, to be saved successful.”

Sociologist Andrew Jakubowicz, of the University of Technology Sydney, observes that “this is not a church where the leader washes the feet of beggars”.

My picture and comments:

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston: “Greed is good”. “I’d wash the feet of beggars if I knew any but I’d rather get them to tithe their Social Security Pension”.

The SMH article:

But Houston is unapologetic about the self- advancement psychology embedded in Hillsong’s message. “I’d rather give people some hope than no hope,” he says. “We encourage them to look to Jesus and build their lives on the right foundations. My methods are relatable in a world where many say the church is a dying force. And I’m not prepared as a church leader to just sit there and let it die.”

Just as the Murdochs have taken three generations to build an empire, the Houstons have taken three generations to build Hillsong into the behemoth it is today. The more it grows, the more adherents see this as proof of divine endorsement.

“People are not looking for stale religion” with “dilapidated buildings filled with narrow-minded, self-righteous finger pointers”, Houston writes in his most recent book, Live Love Lead, released in July. “I am convinced beyond a doubt that God didn’t create us to live mediocre, settle-for-less lives.”

There was nothing settle-for-less about Brian’s father, William Francis “Frank” Houston, a consummate showman and gifted preacher whom Houston hero- worshipped as a boy. As a youngster, he would wave his dad off “longingly” on ministry trips, “believing that I, too, would do just that one day.”

Yet Frank, the empire-founder, was very nearly its undoing. In 1999, sensational allegations surfaced that he had been a serial paedophile, preying on boys and young men whom he had met through the church.

The revelations were shocking, perhaps less so to those familiar with Frank’s inauspicious start as a churchman. A former New Zealand Salvation Army officer who had left that organisation under a cloud when awkward discrepancies showed up in the local accounts, Frank suffered several nervous breakdowns in young adulthood. At least one episode required hospitalisation. So destitute were he and his young family that at one point they possessed nothing beyond “six forks, two pairs of blankets and an old radio”, according to his stalwart wife, Hazel.

The man who saved Frank Houston was a barnstorming Pentecostal preacher, Ray Bloomfield, who took him on as a kind of apprentice at a church near Auckland in the late 1950s.

Under Bloomfield’s tutelage, Frank became entranced by Pentecostalism, a form of charismatic Christian worship that celebrates exuberant physical manifestations of religious ecstasy such as the incomprehensible babbling known as “speaking in tongues”.

In her 1989 book, Being Frank, Hazel recalled how her husband would kneel in prayer “as close to Ray as possible so that he might experience the gushings of Ray’s tongues”.

When Bloomfield eventually left New Zealand for Canada, he handed his church over to Frank who, by some never fully explained process, became an Assemblies of God minister in his own right. He became an entertaining preacher who would “do crazy things like throw a glass of water over the congregation and make funny jokes – he endeared himself to a lot of people”, recalls one former pastor.

Frank’s enjoyment of the company of young men was noted, but rang no alarm bells at the time. It was always seen as “Frank being this father figure to young, gentle men”.

His fierce ambitions for a successor centred on his second son, Brian, rather than eldest, Graeme, who became a fireman and moved to Britain.

In early 1999, just before the first whiff of scandal hit, Frank issued his own book, The Release of the Human Spirit, in which he described laying hands on the infant Brian and beseeching the Lord to “make this boy grow to be a mighty man of God”.

The Houstons arrived in Sydney in 1977 after a divine visitation ordered Frank to “plant a church” in the harbour city. They set up the Sydney Christian Life Centre, initially in Double Bay, and ran it on a shoestring, with newlyweds Brian (then aged 24) and Bobbie coming out from NZ to help them a year later. Brian washed windows to make ends meet, the younger couple eventually buying themselves what one former friend recalls as a “tiny little bungalow in Kings Langley”.

In 1983, Brian Houston ventured out to nearby Baulkham Hills in the city’s north-west to set up an offshoot of his father’s church, calling it the Hills Christian Life Centre. He chose the Hills, he told the ABC’s Australian Story some years ago, partly because of a hugely successful car dealer out there who “used to be on the TV and sell Holdens. And I thought to myself, ‘If you could build the largest Holden dealership in Australia there, surely it must be somewhere where you could build a church.’ ”

Houston soon hit spiritual pay dirt, teaming up with the man who would become one of his closest friends: gifted musician and former ABC technical operations officer Geoff Bullock, who wrote, directed and produced much of Hillsong’s music in those years (delivering three gold albums and a platinum in the process). A trip to the US in 1989 also proved a turning point.

A wide-eyed Houston was feted by pastors involved with the American Word of Faith movement and came back wearing what Bullock remembers as “the loudest shirts we had ever seen”. Everything else changed, too, according to Bullock: “The focus of Hillsong went from the standard Assemblies of God doctrine, which was more working-class and left-wing, to suddenly the prosperity doctrine.” As Hillsong leapt from success to success, Bullock found himself struggling with the increasingly frenetic pace, his own turmoil, and Houston’s leadership style. He finally parted company with Hillsong in 1995, having taken it to the brink of its international musical success. The rupture was wounding to both men.

Bullock tells Good Weekend: “I had an unshakeable spiritual revelation that it was time to leave. There had always been tensions in our relationship. Brian had a fiery temper and domineering leadership style and I was under relentless pressure.” Bullock’s former wife, Janine, says, “They demanded blood of him, but it still wasn’t enough.”

The sense of betrayal was deep on both sides. Over the ensuing years Houston has repeatedly claimed (without naming Bullock) that he had no warning of the departure of the man he then considered his best friend. Bullock emphatically disputes this.

Most distressing to Bullock – and others who admired his work – is that he has now been effectively airbrushed from Hillsong’s history.

By the late 1990s Hillsong was in gleaming purpose- built premises, and feted enough to have John Howard open its new convention centre in 2002. Brian Houston had by now risen to the hugely influential position of national president of the Assemblies of God (AOG), a movement with which Hillsong was affiliated.

In early 1999 Frank stepped aside from the city branch, asking his son to take over. Few knew Frank was secretly fending off the first of the child sexual abuse allegations that would crash around the church with the force of a tsunami.

In evidence before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse at the end of last year, Brian Houston said he’d had no inkling of his father’s dark secrets before October 1999.

He spoke of feeling shock and devastation, described how he had confronted his father at the first opportunity and – after convening a meeting of other AOG elders to discuss the crisis – forced Frank to stand aside (albeit on a pension) from further preaching duties.

But the counsel assisting the commission, Simeon Beckett, has taken a sterner view of the matter. Late last year he recommended Houston be referred to NSW police for failing to pass on that earliest claim of abuse (others involving at least six boys in New Zealand surfaced later). And he chastised Houston for failing to recognise the conflict of interest inherent in having carriage of the complaint against his father while also being head of Hillsong and head of the Assemblies of God.

My pictures and comments

brian houston zBrian Houston 1eBrian Houston 1g

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston 1ibrian houston xiiBrian Houston 4

trying to explain it away

Brian: trying to explain it away

The life of Brian

The life of Brian

The SMH article

Houston can barely contain his anger at Beckett’s recommendations. He maintains he respected the wishes of the victim, by then an adult, who had wanted the matter kept in-house; and that elders of the Assemblies of God had full knowledge and oversight of his handling of the affair.

Houston tells Good Weekend: “It didn’t really matter what the facts were, the counsel assisting [the commission] had his mind made up about what happened and never moved off it at any point.”

Frank died in 2004 aged 82, yet despite the gathering storm was still a respectable enough figure for then senior police officer (now NSW police commissioner) Andrew Scipione to attend his funeral. Scipione was also spotted at this year’s Hillsong conference, raising eyebrows among some of the church’s more trenchant critics.

My picture and comment

Phil Pringle. CEO of C3 International. Now a doctor. Regarded the pedophile Frank Houston as his spiritual father.

Phil Pringle. CEO of C3 International based in Sydney Australia. Now a Doctor. Regarded the Pedophile Frank Houston as his Spiritual Father. Has a little something in his syringe to help his mate Brian through all his many troubles.

The SMH article

As Frank’s dark secrets gradually unfurled, Brian Houston slid slowly into a growing dependence on sleeping pills.

In Live Love Lead, he describes falling prey to a growing disconnect between an inner emptiness and the church’s outward success. The climax came one night five years ago with a full-blown panic attack, which washed him up on a “great reef of jagged pain, fear and sorrow”. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, though he says he has now bounced back, through “the grace of God”.

Didn’t he feel he was living a lie through those years, telling others that faith was enough to deliver the good life, even as he was “imploding” inside?

“I don’t see that I was being fake at all,” he says. “I’ve never stopped loving people, never stopped loving God. “You call it a façade, but I don’t even see it like that, because to me, I was still genuine in everything I did.”

When Frank was 78, he told Brian that Frank’s own father had once abused him after coming home drunk.

“I think my father was homosexual, a closet homosexual,” says Houston, almost as an aside. “I’m no psychiatrist … but I think whatever frustrations he had, he took out on children.”

My comments:

“C’mon Brian, your dad was a child rapist all his life. Get over it. We’re all sick of you crapping on trying to sanitise yourself, your old rampant sicko pedophile dad, and your whole damn greedy avarice out-of-control family. Why don’t you just shut the whole darn thing down and go fishing or something?”

The SMH article:

The Hillsong United band takes the stage, its members in skinny jeans and T-shirts, frontman Joel Houston in an edgy black hat, as they pump up the volume under sweeping lights. “You take me higher than I’ve been before … You are everything I want and more.” Thousands sing along, arms upraised, eyes closed, in the grip of a kind of rapture. Somewhere here at the conference, keeping a lowish profile, is pop star Justin Bieber, who hangs out with Joel at Hillsong in New York. Joel is married to a fashion and lifestyle-blogging Brazilian model, Esther Lima Houston, who struts her stuff on misswhoo.com, providing “an unfiltered lifestyle platform for the modern woman”.

Happy, shiny people. Bullock once said he “came to think that the patron saint of Hillsong was Gianni Versace”. Jakubowicz says he’s “fascinated by how successfully Hillsong has integrated the various elements of contemporary culture into the whole story”.

Yet while it works hard at cultivating its hip, contemporary appeal, there is still little comfort to be found here for those who are openly homosexual. Former Hillsong regular Alex Pittaway, now studying theology in the US, says he saw one friend devastated after being told by the church that “we can’t have gay people in speaking or leadership roles”. He says others were left wounded after being directed towards what was known as “ex-gay reparative therapy”, aimed at “curing” them of homosexuality. “Gay people need to know that there is only so far they can go in Hillsong,” says Pittaway.

Anthony Venn-Brown, a former Assemblies of God pastor who broke with the movement after falling in love with a man, now runs Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International, an organisation aimed at building links between religious organisations and gay and bisexual Christians. He says Houston has a “heart for people” but “like many evangelical leaders is on a journey that requires greater understanding of sexual orientation”. Houston recently referred to gay marriage as the “elephant in the room” for the churches.

Hillsong’s finances are another perennial topic for critics, aired copiously on watchdog websites. (Infamously, in 1999 Houston put out a tome entitled You Need More Money; he regrets it now, though, insisting “the idea of the book, I think, was pure”.) In the past, Hillsong has encouraged tithing (rendering 10 per cent of income to the church) and is notorious for the “love offerings” it solicits at religious services for visiting preachers. Steve West, a former Hillsong regular who attended its leadership college 15 years ago, says Hillsong and its affiliates “are the only churches I know to have sermons designed to inspire giving, every single service. I have run a church ministry. This is totally unnecessary behaviour.”

The church’s financial operations are enmeshed in nine different corporate entities registered with the federal government’s Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, and despite Hillsong’s frequent promises of financial transparency, that’s not been the experience of West, who says when he sought access to the books he was rebuffed and demonised.

“Their response was along the lines of trying to shut me down – I got a letter from their lawyers, a cease and desist notice.” Hillsong rejects the claims and says it had to “take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from baseless and inappropriate comments”. The bulk of Hillsong’s tax-free millions appears to go towards funding its relentless expansion, and keeping its own intricate machinery running, though it does underwrite a range of charitable activities. In recent years it has raised nearly $1.5 million for victims of natural disasters abroad. It runs prison outreach services, offers free counselling to those unable to afford mental health treatment, and last year distributed more than 130,000 food and toy items. It says it reached thousands of people with its volunteer-run CityCare street teams.

In 2013 Houston attempted to quell speculation about how much he and his family were earning from the rivers of gold Hillsong was generating by posting an online letter entitled “Bobbie’s and My Finances”. He stated he was earning $150,000 that year from the church plus $150,000 from Leadership Ministries Incorporated (LMI), which he described as “the entity by which Bobbie and I conduct our broader ministry” worldwide as guest speakers. (There is a well-trodden circuit for celebrity pastors, who were thick on the ground at the Hillsong’s own conference this year.) Personal royalties were not clarified, nor were Bobbie’s earnings.

When Good Weekend asked for an update on this year’s figures, a church spokesman demurred, saying, “We do not disclose the remuneration arrangements of any individual employee due to privacy and confidentiality issues.” The 2014 return for LMI showed it had gross earnings of nearly $670,000 and two full-time employees, whose names Hillsong did not disclose.

In early July, Channel Nine’s A Current Affair took fresh aim at the church’s well-filled coffers and the heavy burden placed on church volunteers.

The segment included an interview outside Allphones Arena (as the Hillsong conference was underway) with Tanya Levin, author of People in Glass Houses: An Insider’s Story of Life In and Out of Hillsong, a critique of Hillsong published in 2007. Acting on a tip-off from a Hillsong member – who told police at the venue that Levin had previously been banned by the church from venturing onto any Hillsong property – including premises the church had hired for events – police swooped and arrested her. She now faces trespass charges and will appear in court again this month. Thus far Hillsong is refusing to comment on the case. However, it has again outraged church critics; West sees it as further evidence of an internal culture deeply averse to criticism.

“If you criticise them its because you have let in a ‘root of bitterness’ – these are the terms they use,” he claims. “Any Hillsong pastor who has strayed from the vision is quickly ostracised.”

Even those who like and admire Houston worry that the circle surrounding him may be overly deferential. Rosebrough argues that the fact that Hillsong and other family-dominated Pentecostal churches have no “traditional ecclesiastical oversight” makes them more vulnerable to potential conflicts between family interests and those of the organisation more broadly.

But Houston insists that “there are all the other incredible people around me … it’s not like I’m the king of Saudi or something.”

Reverend Tim Costello, a Baptist minister, believes Hillsong is doing good work among young Australians who would otherwise be like “beached whales who have lost their radar”.

“It’s much better being in church than doing ice in nightclubs,” he says. “Young people living in a land of plenty are yearning for both spirituality and a sense of justice, and when you bring these two things together it is a powerful statement of true Christian faith. I do believe Hillsong are trying to do this.”

Steve West is more blunt about where Hillsong’s appeal lies: “Moral certainty, community, a sense of identity. There is something so attractive about a black and white view of the world.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/inside-the-hillsong-churchs-moneymaking-machine-20151026-gkip53.html#ixzz3rUpUGrg9
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

My comments and pictures:

Why didn’t Deborah Snow ask a few tough questions like: “Were you ever abused by your old rampant evil child rapist father?” and “Why do you refuse point blank to help the boy and young male pedophile victims of the Founder of Hillsong, your father Frank Houston’s sexual abuses”.

Bobbie and Brian's mansion

Hillsong’s Queen and King. Bobbie and Brian’s mansion in Glenhaven Sydney Australia bought with Hillsong tithes.

The house of Bobbie and Brian.

The Mansion of Bobbie and Brian.

Brian Houston house 3 Brian Houston house 5

Brian and Bobbie Houston's McMansion Palace in Glenhaven, Western Sydney.

King Brian and Queen Bobbie Houston’s McMansion Palace in Glenhaven, Western Sydney.

Brian Houston house 8 Brian Houston house 9 Brian Houston house 11

Bobbie and Brian's house. Home theatre.

Bobbie and Brian Houston’s Home Theatre.

 

The article below was published in the Good Weekend section of the Sydney Morning Herald on 14 November 2015.

It’s pretty light-weight, the issues it raises have been covered many times before, and it doesn’t ask the hard questions, so it’s going to need my help to get it where it should be.

I’ll publish it now in full and make helpful comments as I go through it.

I’ll also add my own pictures and images.

 

Hillsong New York City 11

Josh Canfield Hillsong NYC gay worship leader with gay live-in partner Reed.

Josh Canfield Hillsong New York City gay worship leader with former gay live-in partner Reed. They were planning to marry at Hillsong but things didn’t work out. Josh helpfully informed us: “Our relationship is not yet consummated”, whatever that means, even though they lived together and hosted a gay Hillsong home bible study in their lounge (or bedroom?)

 

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) article:

Inside the Hillsong Church’s money-making machine

Sydney Morning Herald

November 14, 2015

Reporter: Deborah Snow

While Hillsong’s charismatic leader Brian Houston presides over a glitzy religious empire, he has not only had to face a Royal Commission grilling, but questions over theology, money and his church’s treatment of homosexuals.

My picture and comments:

Hi. I'm Bobbie Houston. Darlings, can't talk now. My ride is waiting. Going down to Double Bay to see my hairdresser and pop in to my Cosmetic Surgeon for a little touch-up.

Hi. I’m Bobbie Houston, Brian’s wife. “Darlings, can’t talk now. My chauffeur is waiting. Going down to Double Bay to see my hairdresser and pop in to my Cosmetic Surgeon for a little touch-up”.

The SMH article:

The charismatic leader of the Hillsong Church divides with his stance on homosexuality, wealth creation and the way he handled his father’s child abuse.

Sydney’s Allphones Arena looms out of the chilly dusk on a late June evening like one of painter Jeffrey Smart’s visions of urban dystopia.

Inside the cavernous space, the senior pastor and co-founder of the Hillsong Church, Brian Houston, is prowling the stage before more than 20,000 mesmerised souls who have flocked here for the opening of the church’s week-long annual conference, famed for its spectacle, fiery preaching and rock-concert atmosphere.

My picture and comments:

Pope Pete, the hip-hop groovy cool youth Pope of Baulkham Hills, Sydney , Australia. Formerly plain old Brian Houston from the bland grey suburb of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.

Pope Pete, the hip-hop groovy cool Youth Pope of Baulkham Hills, Sydney, Australia. Formerly plain old Brian Houston from the bland grey suburb of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.

The SMH article:

“I think my father was homosexual, a closet homosexual. I’m no psychiatrist … but I think whatever frustrations he had, he took out on children”.

My picture and comments:

Pastor Frank Houston. Lifelong pedophile. Answerable to God.

Pastor Frank Houston. Lifelong pedophile. Started abusing little boys aged 7 to 12 when he was in his teens, By the age of 20 he was a hardened pedophile. The covert secret pedophile Frank Houston decided that the Christian ministry was the best way to break down the defence mechanisms of good wholesome trusting Christian families and access their little boys and young males. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston probably sexually abused over 400 boys and young males in his lifetime, probably including his two sons, Brian and Graeme. Graeme refuses to go to church and Brian is in denial. I have definite proof through reliable testimony of victims of 13 boy and young teen victims, but mainly little boys aged 7 to 11. This is only the tip of the iceberg. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston was an extremely active pedophile for his whole adult lifetime. He confessed to his son Brian that he was “very active as a pedophile in the 1960s and 1970s”. This was when he was in his 40s and 50s”. This is when he sexually abused all the little boys that I know of. In the 1980s he switched his homosexual desires to young males in their 20s and 30s. He surrounded himself with young men in this demography at Christian Life Centre, Darlinghurst in the 1980s and 1990s. This was the first name of Hillsong. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston moved to Sydney to escape looming criminal charges for an out-of-control pedophile spree in New Zealand.

The SMH article:

The faithful, the curious, the spiritually hungry: they’re packed to the roof in tight rows, eyes fixed on this master showman. At 61, Houston seems the embodiment of Hillsong’s promise: olive-skinned, unlined brow, gleaming teeth, designer stubble, and powerful build set off by jeans, open-neck shirt and tailored jacket. A veritable poster boy for the boomer generation.

My picture and comments:

I wonder if Brian will ever be led away like this.

I wonder if Brian will ever be led away like this. He won’t be looking so young and bouncy, as described above, if the NSW Justice System prosecutes him for not reporting his old pedophile dad to the NSW Police in 1999 when he should have, according to his Statutory Duty as a leader of a large Christian organisation. For five years he sheltered his old pedophile dad Frank Houston for until he died, his mortal soul going into God’s Hands.

The SMH article:

He’s in full flight – cajoling, conversing, proselytising – when suddenly he drops like a stone to the stage and launches into a series of push-ups.

My pictures and comments:

When I listen to Brian Houston preaching, I think he’s insane. I think, “how can any rational and conscious human being listen to his trollop?”

 

The SMH article:

“We are lean, mean kingdom machines, all set for everything that God wants to do in this place. Amen! Amen!” he proclaims, pumping the stage as they stomp and cheer.

“Your words can frame your future,” he tells them. “Speak your faith, start seeing miracles … Owner of your first home! Best-selling author … Mother of handsome sons and beautiful daughters! Businessman who is prosperous and fruitful! Your brother’s salvation, your sister’s healing … Speak it into being! Speak it into being! Speak it into being! Amen!”

My comments: 

Who does Brian Houston think Australians are? A bunch of bogans?

I’d say there aren’t many, if any, articulate, reflective, intelligent, rational people left at Hillsong.

They’ve all been shunted out the Hillsong door.

Brian Houston’s preaching makes me want to puke.

The SMH article:

The uplifting mood is punctured for me two days later when I’m hauled out of my $300 conference seat near the rafters by a burly security guard wearing a Hillsong T-shirt. My sin, apparently, is to have made people “feel uncomfortable” by writing in a notebook and asking the young chap next to me a few questions.

My comments and picture:

In my recent Hillsong Insider series, the Hillsong Insider has been expressing how he feels Hillsong Security are a bunch of thugs, and how Senior Pastor Steve McGhie is an insensitive bogan.

The above incident demonstrates the Hillsong Insiders point. Hillsong have really lost it.

Pastor Steve McGhie

Pastor Steve McGhie. Senior Pastor at Hillsong City Church in Waterloo. Brian Houston’s goof-ball bro-in- law. God help us. God help the naive believing inexperienced Hillsong young faithful.  About Steve McGhie, the Hillsong Insider who I’ve interviewed, says: “Steve McGhie is Racist, Bigoted and Unloving. Steve McGhie has no heart for the poor and downtrodden of Sydney’s Inner City, Hillsong City’s neighbours. That Steve McGhie hates Aboriginal. That he hates lesbians and calls them “lady-lovers” and throws them out the Hillsong door”.

The SMH article:

Brian Houston speaks to the media after appearing at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in October last year.

My photograph and comments:

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston: His gospel is that “Greed is Good”. This is the polar opposite of the words and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the mighty Apostle Paul. Brian Houston doesn’t know the Lord Jesus Christ.

The SMH article:

When I ask Houston some days afterwards about this subtle undercurrent of paranoia, he expresses surprise. He suggests it could have been a response to his stark warnings from the stage about Channel Nine’s A Current Affair, which had been quizzing Hillsongers outside the conference about their financial contributions to the church (a perennial sore point).

“ACA just lies” he says, eyes blazing. “Full stop. You can quote me. They are just liars.”

My photographs and comments:

Brian Houston 1b

Pastor Brian Houston, the criminal pedophile Frank Houston's son. In denial.

Pastor Brian Houston, the criminal pedophile Frank Houston’s son. In denial.

Brian Houston 1e Brian Houston 1f Brian Houston 1g

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston: “Current Affair are liars. They are just liars liars liars. I’m a liar liar liar. My father was a liar liar liar. What am I saying? Bobbie Bobbie Bobbie, My Foxy Princess and the Queen of Hillsong and the Queen of My Soul. My love. My Fair One. I’m feeling faint faint faint. Please bring me some more of those PTSD pills. I think I’m loosing it loosing it loosing it”.

The SMH article:

There’s more bristling when talk turns to the darkest cloud currently sitting on Hillsong’s horizon, the fallout from his appearance at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse last year (of which more later). “In their eyes, I didn’t do a thing right,” he says defiantly. Hillsong’s reputation for being on the thin-skinned side is starting to make some sense.

My photograph and comments:

Big bro Brian Hoston CEO of Hillsong organisation:

Brian Houston CEO of the Hillsong organisation at Day One of the Royal Commission: “Could you please repeat the question… Could you please repeat the question… Could you please repeat the question?” I think Brian’s psychiatrist lowered the dose level of his medications for Day Two of the Royal Commission.

The SMH article:

Our interview takes place in a private suite of rooms upstairs at the sprawling church complex in Alexandria (one of several valuable Sydney sites Hillsong owns) just as he’s about to jet off overseas for three months on church business.

Houston and his equally burnished wife, Bobbie, 58, the reigning couple of Australian Pentecostalism, are riding the crest of a wave that shows no signs of breaking. The Hillsong empire they founded (she, too, is a senior pastor) pulled in tax-free revenues of nearly $80 million in Australia last year and more than $100 million internationally. It is on the ground in 15 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas, and broadcast in 160 nations. And it’s still growing. “I don’t feel there are any limits on how far we should try and go to reach as many people as we possibly can,” Houston says.

My pictures and comments:

Pastor Brian Houston.

Pastor Brian Houston. “No limits”.

Senior Joint Head Pastor of Hillsong international and the Hillsong Kingdoms stretching to the ends of the earth, as far as the vultures and eagle eyes can see.

Queen Bee Bobbie Houston. Eternal Princess and Queen Bee of the Hillsong Sisterhood. Botoxed to the Brim. Travels the world in luxury. No expense spared. Lives in a Houston McMansion in Glenhaven West Sydney. Only the very best will do for Queen Bobbie. Roars louder than all the Felons of Hillsong. (how do you spell Felions?). Felines, I think. The English language can be trickier than Brian Houston. Queen Bobbie: Senior Joint Head Pastor of Hillsong International based at Baulkham Hills Sydney Australia, and Queen Bee over all the Hillsong Kingdoms stretching to the ends of the earth, as far as the vultures and eagle eyes can see.

The SMH article:

Their three grown children all hold leadership positions within the church (though Houston flatly rejects suggestions it’s looking like a family business).

Sons Ben, 33, and Joel, 37, lead the charge in the US, with Ben having “planted” a Hillsong offshoot in LA and Joel becoming assistant pastor in New York. Daughter Laura, 28, and son-in-law Peter Toganivalu are youth pastors at Hillsong in Sydney.

My pictures and comments:

Joel Houston. Mummy's boy. Mummy spoils her kids rotten.

Joel Houston. Mummy’s boy. Mummy spoils her kids rotten.

“Pastor”Joel Houston. Pampered. Great sense of entitlement. “I’m Amazing. I’m the great Brian Houston’s son…Praise the Lord I’m Amazing”. Co-pastor of Hillsong New York City. Frank Houston’s talented grandson.

“Pastor” Joel Houston and “Pastor” Carl Lentz. Head pastors of Hillsong New York City. Gay lovers.

The SMH article:

There are bible training colleges, a Hillsong Performing Arts Academy, a Hollywood-produced film in the works, and Brian and Bobbie’s many books, CDs and DVDs. Underpinning it all is the hugely successful and lucrative Hillsong United rock band, fronted by Joel, which has soared to stratospheric heights on US Christian music charts.

It’s all too much for critics such as American pastor Chris Rosebrough, who labels Hillsong an “evangelical/ industrial complex” and Houston the “CEO of an international multimedia entertainment company” that “happens to have venues around the world where they do something they call church”.

Rosebrough runs Pirate Christian Radio, an online religious radio network that regularly takes aim at what he calls Hillsong’s “big box” approach to Christianity with its “squishy self-help inspirational messages” and “rock and roll laser light show”. More fundamentally, he takes issue with Hillsong’s theology, accusing Houston of teaching the “Word of Faith heresy”.

“It teaches that God wants you to be rich and prosperous so that you can be a blessing to other people, and that you do this by creating the future with your words,” he tells Good Weekend from his base in North Dakota. “It distorts the scriptures, and it’s a doctrine that wasn’t even taught until American televangelists invented it maybe 30 to 40 years ago.”

A similar queasiness about Hillsong’s messaging is felt by a number of mainstream church leaders here, though there is greater reluctance to say so openly.

“Brian’s intuitive genius is marketing,” says one senior churchman, who asks not to be quoted. “Hillsong is a culture – success, beautiful people, a positive message and nothing negative. The message is, ‘You’re awesome and God is awesome and we are God’s chosen and we have to be seen to be awesome.’ And when you tease out what awesome means, it basically means prosperity. They go very close to going that to be poor is sinful, to be saved successful.”

Sociologist Andrew Jakubowicz, of the University of Technology Sydney, observes that “this is not a church where the leader washes the feet of beggars”.

My picture and comments:

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston: “Greed is good”. “I’d wash the feet of beggars if I knew any but I’d rather get them to tithe their Social Security Pension”.

The SMH article:

But Houston is unapologetic about the self- advancement psychology embedded in Hillsong’s message. “I’d rather give people some hope than no hope,” he says. “We encourage them to look to Jesus and build their lives on the right foundations. My methods are relatable in a world where many say the church is a dying force. And I’m not prepared as a church leader to just sit there and let it die.”

Just as the Murdochs have taken three generations to build an empire, the Houstons have taken three generations to build Hillsong into the behemoth it is today. The more it grows, the more adherents see this as proof of divine endorsement.

“People are not looking for stale religion” with “dilapidated buildings filled with narrow-minded, self-righteous finger pointers”, Houston writes in his most recent book, Live Love Lead, released in July. “I am convinced beyond a doubt that God didn’t create us to live mediocre, settle-for-less lives.”

There was nothing settle-for-less about Brian’s father, William Francis “Frank” Houston, a consummate showman and gifted preacher whom Houston hero- worshipped as a boy. As a youngster, he would wave his dad off “longingly” on ministry trips, “believing that I, too, would do just that one day.”

Yet Frank, the empire-founder, was very nearly its undoing. In 1999, sensational allegations surfaced that he had been a serial paedophile, preying on boys and young men whom he had met through the church.

The revelations were shocking, perhaps less so to those familiar with Frank’s inauspicious start as a churchman. A former New Zealand Salvation Army officer who had left that organisation under a cloud when awkward discrepancies showed up in the local accounts, Frank suffered several nervous breakdowns in young adulthood. At least one episode required hospitalisation. So destitute were he and his young family that at one point they possessed nothing beyond “six forks, two pairs of blankets and an old radio”, according to his stalwart wife, Hazel.

The man who saved Frank Houston was a barnstorming Pentecostal preacher, Ray Bloomfield, who took him on as a kind of apprentice at a church near Auckland in the late 1950s.

Under Bloomfield’s tutelage, Frank became entranced by Pentecostalism, a form of charismatic Christian worship that celebrates exuberant physical manifestations of religious ecstasy such as the incomprehensible babbling known as “speaking in tongues”.

In her 1989 book, Being Frank, Hazel recalled how her husband would kneel in prayer “as close to Ray as possible so that he might experience the gushings of Ray’s tongues”.

When Bloomfield eventually left New Zealand for Canada, he handed his church over to Frank who, by some never fully explained process, became an Assemblies of God minister in his own right. He became an entertaining preacher who would “do crazy things like throw a glass of water over the congregation and make funny jokes – he endeared himself to a lot of people”, recalls one former pastor.

Frank’s enjoyment of the company of young men was noted, but rang no alarm bells at the time. It was always seen as “Frank being this father figure to young, gentle men”.

His fierce ambitions for a successor centred on his second son, Brian, rather than eldest, Graeme, who became a fireman and moved to Britain.

In early 1999, just before the first whiff of scandal hit, Frank issued his own book, The Release of the Human Spirit, in which he described laying hands on the infant Brian and beseeching the Lord to “make this boy grow to be a mighty man of God”.

The Houstons arrived in Sydney in 1977 after a divine visitation ordered Frank to “plant a church” in the harbour city. They set up the Sydney Christian Life Centre, initially in Double Bay, and ran it on a shoestring, with newlyweds Brian (then aged 24) and Bobbie coming out from NZ to help them a year later. Brian washed windows to make ends meet, the younger couple eventually buying themselves what one former friend recalls as a “tiny little bungalow in Kings Langley”.

In 1983, Brian Houston ventured out to nearby Baulkham Hills in the city’s north-west to set up an offshoot of his father’s church, calling it the Hills Christian Life Centre. He chose the Hills, he told the ABC’s Australian Story some years ago, partly because of a hugely successful car dealer out there who “used to be on the TV and sell Holdens. And I thought to myself, ‘If you could build the largest Holden dealership in Australia there, surely it must be somewhere where you could build a church.’ ”

Houston soon hit spiritual pay dirt, teaming up with the man who would become one of his closest friends: gifted musician and former ABC technical operations officer Geoff Bullock, who wrote, directed and produced much of Hillsong’s music in those years (delivering three gold albums and a platinum in the process). A trip to the US in 1989 also proved a turning point.

A wide-eyed Houston was feted by pastors involved with the American Word of Faith movement and came back wearing what Bullock remembers as “the loudest shirts we had ever seen”. Everything else changed, too, according to Bullock: “The focus of Hillsong went from the standard Assemblies of God doctrine, which was more working-class and left-wing, to suddenly the prosperity doctrine.” As Hillsong leapt from success to success, Bullock found himself struggling with the increasingly frenetic pace, his own turmoil, and Houston’s leadership style. He finally parted company with Hillsong in 1995, having taken it to the brink of its international musical success. The rupture was wounding to both men.

Bullock tells Good Weekend: “I had an unshakeable spiritual revelation that it was time to leave. There had always been tensions in our relationship. Brian had a fiery temper and domineering leadership style and I was under relentless pressure.” Bullock’s former wife, Janine, says, “They demanded blood of him, but it still wasn’t enough.”

The sense of betrayal was deep on both sides. Over the ensuing years Houston has repeatedly claimed (without naming Bullock) that he had no warning of the departure of the man he then considered his best friend. Bullock emphatically disputes this.

Most distressing to Bullock – and others who admired his work – is that he has now been effectively airbrushed from Hillsong’s history.

By the late 1990s Hillsong was in gleaming purpose- built premises, and feted enough to have John Howard open its new convention centre in 2002. Brian Houston had by now risen to the hugely influential position of national president of the Assemblies of God (AOG), a movement with which Hillsong was affiliated.

In early 1999 Frank stepped aside from the city branch, asking his son to take over. Few knew Frank was secretly fending off the first of the child sexual abuse allegations that would crash around the church with the force of a tsunami.

In evidence before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse at the end of last year, Brian Houston said he’d had no inkling of his father’s dark secrets before October 1999.

He spoke of feeling shock and devastation, described how he had confronted his father at the first opportunity and – after convening a meeting of other AOG elders to discuss the crisis – forced Frank to stand aside (albeit on a pension) from further preaching duties.

But the counsel assisting the commission, Simeon Beckett, has taken a sterner view of the matter. Late last year he recommended Houston be referred to NSW police for failing to pass on that earliest claim of abuse (others involving at least six boys in New Zealand surfaced later). And he chastised Houston for failing to recognise the conflict of interest inherent in having carriage of the complaint against his father while also being head of Hillsong and head of the Assemblies of God.

My pictures and comments

brian houston zBrian Houston 1eBrian Houston 1g

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston 1ibrian houston xiiBrian Houston 4

trying to explain it away

Brian: trying to explain it away

The life of Brian

The life of Brian

The SMH article

Houston can barely contain his anger at Beckett’s recommendations. He maintains he respected the wishes of the victim, by then an adult, who had wanted the matter kept in-house; and that elders of the Assemblies of God had full knowledge and oversight of his handling of the affair.

Houston tells Good Weekend: “It didn’t really matter what the facts were, the counsel assisting [the commission] had his mind made up about what happened and never moved off it at any point.”

Frank died in 2004 aged 82, yet despite the gathering storm was still a respectable enough figure for then senior police officer (now NSW police commissioner) Andrew Scipione to attend his funeral. Scipione was also spotted at this year’s Hillsong conference, raising eyebrows among some of the church’s more trenchant critics.

My picture and comment

Phil Pringle. CEO of C3 International. Now a doctor. Regarded the pedophile Frank Houston as his spiritual father.

Phil Pringle. CEO of C3 International based in Sydney Australia. Now a Doctor. Regarded the Pedophile Frank Houston as his Spiritual Father. Has a little something in his syringe to help his mate Brian through all his many troubles.

The SMH article

As Frank’s dark secrets gradually unfurled, Brian Houston slid slowly into a growing dependence on sleeping pills.

In Live Love Lead, he describes falling prey to a growing disconnect between an inner emptiness and the church’s outward success. The climax came one night five years ago with a full-blown panic attack, which washed him up on a “great reef of jagged pain, fear and sorrow”. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, though he says he has now bounced back, through “the grace of God”.

Didn’t he feel he was living a lie through those years, telling others that faith was enough to deliver the good life, even as he was “imploding” inside?

“I don’t see that I was being fake at all,” he says. “I’ve never stopped loving people, never stopped loving God. “You call it a façade, but I don’t even see it like that, because to me, I was still genuine in everything I did.”

When Frank was 78, he told Brian that Frank’s own father had once abused him after coming home drunk.

“I think my father was homosexual, a closet homosexual,” says Houston, almost as an aside. “I’m no psychiatrist … but I think whatever frustrations he had, he took out on children.”

My comments:

“C’mon Brian, your dad was a child rapist all his life. Get over it. We’re all sick of you crapping on trying to sanitise yourself, your old rampant sicko pedophile dad, and your whole damn greedy avarice out-of-control family. Why don’t you just shut the whole darn thing down and go fishing or something?”

The SMH article:

The Hillsong United band takes the stage, its members in skinny jeans and T-shirts, frontman Joel Houston in an edgy black hat, as they pump up the volume under sweeping lights. “You take me higher than I’ve been before … You are everything I want and more.” Thousands sing along, arms upraised, eyes closed, in the grip of a kind of rapture. Somewhere here at the conference, keeping a lowish profile, is pop star Justin Bieber, who hangs out with Joel at Hillsong in New York. Joel is married to a fashion and lifestyle-blogging Brazilian model, Esther Lima Houston, who struts her stuff on misswhoo.com, providing “an unfiltered lifestyle platform for the modern woman”.

Happy, shiny people. Bullock once said he “came to think that the patron saint of Hillsong was Gianni Versace”. Jakubowicz says he’s “fascinated by how successfully Hillsong has integrated the various elements of contemporary culture into the whole story”.

Yet while it works hard at cultivating its hip, contemporary appeal, there is still little comfort to be found here for those who are openly homosexual. Former Hillsong regular Alex Pittaway, now studying theology in the US, says he saw one friend devastated after being told by the church that “we can’t have gay people in speaking or leadership roles”. He says others were left wounded after being directed towards what was known as “ex-gay reparative therapy”, aimed at “curing” them of homosexuality. “Gay people need to know that there is only so far they can go in Hillsong,” says Pittaway.

Anthony Venn-Brown, a former Assemblies of God pastor who broke with the movement after falling in love with a man, now runs Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International, an organisation aimed at building links between religious organisations and gay and bisexual Christians. He says Houston has a “heart for people” but “like many evangelical leaders is on a journey that requires greater understanding of sexual orientation”. Houston recently referred to gay marriage as the “elephant in the room” for the churches.

Hillsong’s finances are another perennial topic for critics, aired copiously on watchdog websites. (Infamously, in 1999 Houston put out a tome entitled You Need More Money; he regrets it now, though, insisting “the idea of the book, I think, was pure”.) In the past, Hillsong has encouraged tithing (rendering 10 per cent of income to the church) and is notorious for the “love offerings” it solicits at religious services for visiting preachers. Steve West, a former Hillsong regular who attended its leadership college 15 years ago, says Hillsong and its affiliates “are the only churches I know to have sermons designed to inspire giving, every single service. I have run a church ministry. This is totally unnecessary behaviour.”

The church’s financial operations are enmeshed in nine different corporate entities registered with the federal government’s Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, and despite Hillsong’s frequent promises of financial transparency, that’s not been the experience of West, who says when he sought access to the books he was rebuffed and demonised.

“Their response was along the lines of trying to shut me down – I got a letter from their lawyers, a cease and desist notice.” Hillsong rejects the claims and says it had to “take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from baseless and inappropriate comments”. The bulk of Hillsong’s tax-free millions appears to go towards funding its relentless expansion, and keeping its own intricate machinery running, though it does underwrite a range of charitable activities. In recent years it has raised nearly $1.5 million for victims of natural disasters abroad. It runs prison outreach services, offers free counselling to those unable to afford mental health treatment, and last year distributed more than 130,000 food and toy items. It says it reached thousands of people with its volunteer-run CityCare street teams.

In 2013 Houston attempted to quell speculation about how much he and his family were earning from the rivers of gold Hillsong was generating by posting an online letter entitled “Bobbie’s and My Finances”. He stated he was earning $150,000 that year from the church plus $150,000 from Leadership Ministries Incorporated (LMI), which he described as “the entity by which Bobbie and I conduct our broader ministry” worldwide as guest speakers. (There is a well-trodden circuit for celebrity pastors, who were thick on the ground at the Hillsong’s own conference this year.) Personal royalties were not clarified, nor were Bobbie’s earnings.

When Good Weekend asked for an update on this year’s figures, a church spokesman demurred, saying, “We do not disclose the remuneration arrangements of any individual employee due to privacy and confidentiality issues.” The 2014 return for LMI showed it had gross earnings of nearly $670,000 and two full-time employees, whose names Hillsong did not disclose.

In early July, Channel Nine’s A Current Affair took fresh aim at the church’s well-filled coffers and the heavy burden placed on church volunteers.

The segment included an interview outside Allphones Arena (as the Hillsong conference was underway) with Tanya Levin, author of People in Glass Houses: An Insider’s Story of Life In and Out of Hillsong, a critique of Hillsong published in 2007. Acting on a tip-off from a Hillsong member – who told police at the venue that Levin had previously been banned by the church from venturing onto any Hillsong property – including premises the church had hired for events – police swooped and arrested her. She now faces trespass charges and will appear in court again this month. Thus far Hillsong is refusing to comment on the case. However, it has again outraged church critics; West sees it as further evidence of an internal culture deeply averse to criticism.

“If you criticise them its because you have let in a ‘root of bitterness’ – these are the terms they use,” he claims. “Any Hillsong pastor who has strayed from the vision is quickly ostracised.”

Even those who like and admire Houston worry that the circle surrounding him may be overly deferential. Rosebrough argues that the fact that Hillsong and other family-dominated Pentecostal churches have no “traditional ecclesiastical oversight” makes them more vulnerable to potential conflicts between family interests and those of the organisation more broadly.

But Houston insists that “there are all the other incredible people around me … it’s not like I’m the king of Saudi or something.”

Reverend Tim Costello, a Baptist minister, believes Hillsong is doing good work among young Australians who would otherwise be like “beached whales who have lost their radar”.

“It’s much better being in church than doing ice in nightclubs,” he says. “Young people living in a land of plenty are yearning for both spirituality and a sense of justice, and when you bring these two things together it is a powerful statement of true Christian faith. I do believe Hillsong are trying to do this.”

Steve West is more blunt about where Hillsong’s appeal lies: “Moral certainty, community, a sense of identity. There is something so attractive about a black and white view of the world.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/inside-the-hillsong-churchs-moneymaking-machine-20151026-gkip53.html#ixzz3rUpUGrg9
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

My comments and pictures:

Why didn’t Deborah Snow ask a few tough questions like: “Were you ever abused by your old rampant evil child rapist father?” and “Why do you refuse point blank to help the boy and young male pedophile victims of the Founder of Hillsong, your father Frank Houston’s sexual abuses”.

Bobbie and Brian's mansion

Hillsong’s Queen and King. Bobbie and Brian’s mansion in Glenhaven Sydney Australia bought with Hillsong tithes.

The house of Bobbie and Brian.

The Mansion of Bobbie and Brian.

Brian Houston house 3 Brian Houston house 5

Brian and Bobbie Houston's McMansion Palace in Glenhaven, Western Sydney.

King Brian and Queen Bobbie Houston’s McMansion Palace in Glenhaven, Western Sydney.

Brian Houston house 8 Brian Houston house 9 Brian Houston house 11

Bobbie and Brian's house. Home theatre.

Bobbie and Brian Houston’s Home Theatre.

 

The article below was published in the Good Weekend section of the Sydney Morning Herald on 14 November 2015.

It’s pretty light-weight, the issues it raises have been covered many times before, and it doesn’t ask the hard questions, so it’s going to need my help to get it where it should be.

I’ll publish it now in full and make helpful comments as I go through it.

I’ll also add my own pictures and images.

 

Hillsong New York City 11

Josh Canfield Hillsong NYC gay worship leader with gay live-in partner Reed.

Josh Canfield Hillsong New York City gay worship leader with former gay live-in partner Reed. They were planning to marry at Hillsong but things didn’t work out. Josh helpfully informed us: “Our relationship is not yet consummated”, whatever that means, even though they lived together and hosted a gay Hillsong home bible study in their lounge (or bedroom?)

 

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) article:

Inside the Hillsong Church’s money-making machine

Sydney Morning Herald

November 14, 2015

Reporter: Deborah Snow

While Hillsong’s charismatic leader Brian Houston presides over a glitzy religious empire, he has not only had to face a Royal Commission grilling, but questions over theology, money and his church’s treatment of homosexuals.

My picture and comments:

Hi. I'm Bobbie Houston. Darlings, can't talk now. My ride is waiting. Going down to Double Bay to see my hairdresser and pop in to my Cosmetic Surgeon for a little touch-up.

Hi. I’m Bobbie Houston, Brian’s wife. “Darlings, can’t talk now. My chauffeur is waiting. Going down to Double Bay to see my hairdresser and pop in to my Cosmetic Surgeon for a little touch-up”.

The SMH article:

The charismatic leader of the Hillsong Church divides with his stance on homosexuality, wealth creation and the way he handled his father’s child abuse.

Sydney’s Allphones Arena looms out of the chilly dusk on a late June evening like one of painter Jeffrey Smart’s visions of urban dystopia.

Inside the cavernous space, the senior pastor and co-founder of the Hillsong Church, Brian Houston, is prowling the stage before more than 20,000 mesmerised souls who have flocked here for the opening of the church’s week-long annual conference, famed for its spectacle, fiery preaching and rock-concert atmosphere.

My picture and comments:

Pope Pete, the hip-hop groovy cool youth Pope of Baulkham Hills, Sydney , Australia. Formerly plain old Brian Houston from the bland grey suburb of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.

Pope Pete, the hip-hop groovy cool Youth Pope of Baulkham Hills, Sydney, Australia. Formerly plain old Brian Houston from the bland grey suburb of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.

The SMH article:

“I think my father was homosexual, a closet homosexual. I’m no psychiatrist … but I think whatever frustrations he had, he took out on children”.

My picture and comments:

Pastor Frank Houston. Lifelong pedophile. Answerable to God.

Pastor Frank Houston. Lifelong pedophile. Started abusing little boys aged 7 to 12 when he was in his teens, By the age of 20 he was a hardened pedophile. The covert secret pedophile Frank Houston decided that the Christian ministry was the best way to break down the defence mechanisms of good wholesome trusting Christian families and access their little boys and young males. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston probably sexually abused over 400 boys and young males in his lifetime, probably including his two sons, Brian and Graeme. Graeme refuses to go to church and Brian is in denial. I have definite proof through reliable testimony of victims of 13 boy and young teen victims, but mainly little boys aged 7 to 11. This is only the tip of the iceberg. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston was an extremely active pedophile for his whole adult lifetime. He confessed to his son Brian that he was “very active as a pedophile in the 1960s and 1970s”. This was when he was in his 40s and 50s”. This is when he sexually abused all the little boys that I know of. In the 1980s he switched his homosexual desires to young males in their 20s and 30s. He surrounded himself with young men in this demography at Christian Life Centre, Darlinghurst in the 1980s and 1990s. This was the first name of Hillsong. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston moved to Sydney to escape looming criminal charges for an out-of-control pedophile spree in New Zealand.

The SMH article:

The faithful, the curious, the spiritually hungry: they’re packed to the roof in tight rows, eyes fixed on this master showman. At 61, Houston seems the embodiment of Hillsong’s promise: olive-skinned, unlined brow, gleaming teeth, designer stubble, and powerful build set off by jeans, open-neck shirt and tailored jacket. A veritable poster boy for the boomer generation.

My picture and comments:

I wonder if Brian will ever be led away like this.

I wonder if Brian will ever be led away like this. He won’t be looking so young and bouncy, as described above, if the NSW Justice System prosecutes him for not reporting his old pedophile dad to the NSW Police in 1999 when he should have, according to his Statutory Duty as a leader of a large Christian organisation. For five years he sheltered his old pedophile dad Frank Houston for until he died, his mortal soul going into God’s Hands.

The SMH article:

He’s in full flight – cajoling, conversing, proselytising – when suddenly he drops like a stone to the stage and launches into a series of push-ups.

My pictures and comments:

When I listen to Brian Houston preaching, I think he’s insane. I think, “how can any rational and conscious human being listen to his trollop?”

 

The SMH article:

“We are lean, mean kingdom machines, all set for everything that God wants to do in this place. Amen! Amen!” he proclaims, pumping the stage as they stomp and cheer.

“Your words can frame your future,” he tells them. “Speak your faith, start seeing miracles … Owner of your first home! Best-selling author … Mother of handsome sons and beautiful daughters! Businessman who is prosperous and fruitful! Your brother’s salvation, your sister’s healing … Speak it into being! Speak it into being! Speak it into being! Amen!”

My comments: 

Who does Brian Houston think Australians are? A bunch of bogans?

I’d say there aren’t many, if any, articulate, reflective, intelligent, rational people left at Hillsong.

They’ve all been shunted out the Hillsong door.

Brian Houston’s preaching makes me want to puke.

The SMH article:

The uplifting mood is punctured for me two days later when I’m hauled out of my $300 conference seat near the rafters by a burly security guard wearing a Hillsong T-shirt. My sin, apparently, is to have made people “feel uncomfortable” by writing in a notebook and asking the young chap next to me a few questions.

My comments and picture:

In my recent Hillsong Insider series, the Hillsong Insider has been expressing how he feels Hillsong Security are a bunch of thugs, and how Senior Pastor Steve McGhie is an insensitive bogan.

The above incident demonstrates the Hillsong Insiders point. Hillsong have really lost it.

Pastor Steve McGhie

Pastor Steve McGhie. Senior Pastor at Hillsong City Church in Waterloo. Brian Houston’s goof-ball bro-in- law. God help us. God help the naive believing inexperienced Hillsong young faithful.  About Steve McGhie, the Hillsong Insider who I’ve interviewed, says: “Steve McGhie is Racist, Bigoted and Unloving. Steve McGhie has no heart for the poor and downtrodden of Sydney’s Inner City, Hillsong City’s neighbours. That Steve McGhie hates Aboriginal. That he hates lesbians and calls them “lady-lovers” and throws them out the Hillsong door”.

The SMH article:

Brian Houston speaks to the media after appearing at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in October last year.

My photograph and comments:

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston: His gospel is that “Greed is Good”. This is the polar opposite of the words and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the mighty Apostle Paul. Brian Houston doesn’t know the Lord Jesus Christ.

The SMH article:

When I ask Houston some days afterwards about this subtle undercurrent of paranoia, he expresses surprise. He suggests it could have been a response to his stark warnings from the stage about Channel Nine’s A Current Affair, which had been quizzing Hillsongers outside the conference about their financial contributions to the church (a perennial sore point).

“ACA just lies” he says, eyes blazing. “Full stop. You can quote me. They are just liars.”

My photographs and comments:

Brian Houston 1b

Pastor Brian Houston, the criminal pedophile Frank Houston's son. In denial.

Pastor Brian Houston, the criminal pedophile Frank Houston’s son. In denial.

Brian Houston 1e Brian Houston 1f Brian Houston 1g

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston: “Current Affair are liars. They are just liars liars liars. I’m a liar liar liar. My father was a liar liar liar. What am I saying? Bobbie Bobbie Bobbie, My Foxy Princess and the Queen of Hillsong and the Queen of My Soul. My love. My Fair One. I’m feeling faint faint faint. Please bring me some more of those PTSD pills. I think I’m loosing it loosing it loosing it”.

The SMH article:

There’s more bristling when talk turns to the darkest cloud currently sitting on Hillsong’s horizon, the fallout from his appearance at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse last year (of which more later). “In their eyes, I didn’t do a thing right,” he says defiantly. Hillsong’s reputation for being on the thin-skinned side is starting to make some sense.

My photograph and comments:

Big bro Brian Hoston CEO of Hillsong organisation:

Brian Houston CEO of the Hillsong organisation at Day One of the Royal Commission: “Could you please repeat the question… Could you please repeat the question… Could you please repeat the question?” I think Brian’s psychiatrist lowered the dose level of his medications for Day Two of the Royal Commission.

The SMH article:

Our interview takes place in a private suite of rooms upstairs at the sprawling church complex in Alexandria (one of several valuable Sydney sites Hillsong owns) just as he’s about to jet off overseas for three months on church business.

Houston and his equally burnished wife, Bobbie, 58, the reigning couple of Australian Pentecostalism, are riding the crest of a wave that shows no signs of breaking. The Hillsong empire they founded (she, too, is a senior pastor) pulled in tax-free revenues of nearly $80 million in Australia last year and more than $100 million internationally. It is on the ground in 15 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas, and broadcast in 160 nations. And it’s still growing. “I don’t feel there are any limits on how far we should try and go to reach as many people as we possibly can,” Houston says.

My pictures and comments:

Pastor Brian Houston.

Pastor Brian Houston. “No limits”.

Senior Joint Head Pastor of Hillsong international and the Hillsong Kingdoms stretching to the ends of the earth, as far as the vultures and eagle eyes can see.

Queen Bee Bobbie Houston. Eternal Princess and Queen Bee of the Hillsong Sisterhood. Botoxed to the Brim. Travels the world in luxury. No expense spared. Lives in a Houston McMansion in Glenhaven West Sydney. Only the very best will do for Queen Bobbie. Roars louder than all the Felons of Hillsong. (how do you spell Felions?). Felines, I think. The English language can be trickier than Brian Houston. Queen Bobbie: Senior Joint Head Pastor of Hillsong International based at Baulkham Hills Sydney Australia, and Queen Bee over all the Hillsong Kingdoms stretching to the ends of the earth, as far as the vultures and eagle eyes can see.

The SMH article:

Their three grown children all hold leadership positions within the church (though Houston flatly rejects suggestions it’s looking like a family business).

Sons Ben, 33, and Joel, 37, lead the charge in the US, with Ben having “planted” a Hillsong offshoot in LA and Joel becoming assistant pastor in New York. Daughter Laura, 28, and son-in-law Peter Toganivalu are youth pastors at Hillsong in Sydney.

My pictures and comments:

Joel Houston. Mummy's boy. Mummy spoils her kids rotten.

Joel Houston. Mummy’s boy. Mummy spoils her kids rotten.

“Pastor”Joel Houston. Pampered. Great sense of entitlement. “I’m Amazing. I’m the great Brian Houston’s son…Praise the Lord I’m Amazing”. Co-pastor of Hillsong New York City. Frank Houston’s talented grandson.

“Pastor” Joel Houston and “Pastor” Carl Lentz. Head pastors of Hillsong New York City. Gay lovers.

The SMH article:

There are bible training colleges, a Hillsong Performing Arts Academy, a Hollywood-produced film in the works, and Brian and Bobbie’s many books, CDs and DVDs. Underpinning it all is the hugely successful and lucrative Hillsong United rock band, fronted by Joel, which has soared to stratospheric heights on US Christian music charts.

It’s all too much for critics such as American pastor Chris Rosebrough, who labels Hillsong an “evangelical/ industrial complex” and Houston the “CEO of an international multimedia entertainment company” that “happens to have venues around the world where they do something they call church”.

Rosebrough runs Pirate Christian Radio, an online religious radio network that regularly takes aim at what he calls Hillsong’s “big box” approach to Christianity with its “squishy self-help inspirational messages” and “rock and roll laser light show”. More fundamentally, he takes issue with Hillsong’s theology, accusing Houston of teaching the “Word of Faith heresy”.

“It teaches that God wants you to be rich and prosperous so that you can be a blessing to other people, and that you do this by creating the future with your words,” he tells Good Weekend from his base in North Dakota. “It distorts the scriptures, and it’s a doctrine that wasn’t even taught until American televangelists invented it maybe 30 to 40 years ago.”

A similar queasiness about Hillsong’s messaging is felt by a number of mainstream church leaders here, though there is greater reluctance to say so openly.

“Brian’s intuitive genius is marketing,” says one senior churchman, who asks not to be quoted. “Hillsong is a culture – success, beautiful people, a positive message and nothing negative. The message is, ‘You’re awesome and God is awesome and we are God’s chosen and we have to be seen to be awesome.’ And when you tease out what awesome means, it basically means prosperity. They go very close to going that to be poor is sinful, to be saved successful.”

Sociologist Andrew Jakubowicz, of the University of Technology Sydney, observes that “this is not a church where the leader washes the feet of beggars”.

My picture and comments:

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston: “Greed is good”. “I’d wash the feet of beggars if I knew any but I’d rather get them to tithe their Social Security Pension”.

The SMH article:

But Houston is unapologetic about the self- advancement psychology embedded in Hillsong’s message. “I’d rather give people some hope than no hope,” he says. “We encourage them to look to Jesus and build their lives on the right foundations. My methods are relatable in a world where many say the church is a dying force. And I’m not prepared as a church leader to just sit there and let it die.”

Just as the Murdochs have taken three generations to build an empire, the Houstons have taken three generations to build Hillsong into the behemoth it is today. The more it grows, the more adherents see this as proof of divine endorsement.

“People are not looking for stale religion” with “dilapidated buildings filled with narrow-minded, self-righteous finger pointers”, Houston writes in his most recent book, Live Love Lead, released in July. “I am convinced beyond a doubt that God didn’t create us to live mediocre, settle-for-less lives.”

There was nothing settle-for-less about Brian’s father, William Francis “Frank” Houston, a consummate showman and gifted preacher whom Houston hero- worshipped as a boy. As a youngster, he would wave his dad off “longingly” on ministry trips, “believing that I, too, would do just that one day.”

Yet Frank, the empire-founder, was very nearly its undoing. In 1999, sensational allegations surfaced that he had been a serial paedophile, preying on boys and young men whom he had met through the church.

The revelations were shocking, perhaps less so to those familiar with Frank’s inauspicious start as a churchman. A former New Zealand Salvation Army officer who had left that organisation under a cloud when awkward discrepancies showed up in the local accounts, Frank suffered several nervous breakdowns in young adulthood. At least one episode required hospitalisation. So destitute were he and his young family that at one point they possessed nothing beyond “six forks, two pairs of blankets and an old radio”, according to his stalwart wife, Hazel.

The man who saved Frank Houston was a barnstorming Pentecostal preacher, Ray Bloomfield, who took him on as a kind of apprentice at a church near Auckland in the late 1950s.

Under Bloomfield’s tutelage, Frank became entranced by Pentecostalism, a form of charismatic Christian worship that celebrates exuberant physical manifestations of religious ecstasy such as the incomprehensible babbling known as “speaking in tongues”.

In her 1989 book, Being Frank, Hazel recalled how her husband would kneel in prayer “as close to Ray as possible so that he might experience the gushings of Ray’s tongues”.

When Bloomfield eventually left New Zealand for Canada, he handed his church over to Frank who, by some never fully explained process, became an Assemblies of God minister in his own right. He became an entertaining preacher who would “do crazy things like throw a glass of water over the congregation and make funny jokes – he endeared himself to a lot of people”, recalls one former pastor.

Frank’s enjoyment of the company of young men was noted, but rang no alarm bells at the time. It was always seen as “Frank being this father figure to young, gentle men”.

His fierce ambitions for a successor centred on his second son, Brian, rather than eldest, Graeme, who became a fireman and moved to Britain.

In early 1999, just before the first whiff of scandal hit, Frank issued his own book, The Release of the Human Spirit, in which he described laying hands on the infant Brian and beseeching the Lord to “make this boy grow to be a mighty man of God”.

The Houstons arrived in Sydney in 1977 after a divine visitation ordered Frank to “plant a church” in the harbour city. They set up the Sydney Christian Life Centre, initially in Double Bay, and ran it on a shoestring, with newlyweds Brian (then aged 24) and Bobbie coming out from NZ to help them a year later. Brian washed windows to make ends meet, the younger couple eventually buying themselves what one former friend recalls as a “tiny little bungalow in Kings Langley”.

In 1983, Brian Houston ventured out to nearby Baulkham Hills in the city’s north-west to set up an offshoot of his father’s church, calling it the Hills Christian Life Centre. He chose the Hills, he told the ABC’s Australian Story some years ago, partly because of a hugely successful car dealer out there who “used to be on the TV and sell Holdens. And I thought to myself, ‘If you could build the largest Holden dealership in Australia there, surely it must be somewhere where you could build a church.’ ”

Houston soon hit spiritual pay dirt, teaming up with the man who would become one of his closest friends: gifted musician and former ABC technical operations officer Geoff Bullock, who wrote, directed and produced much of Hillsong’s music in those years (delivering three gold albums and a platinum in the process). A trip to the US in 1989 also proved a turning point.

A wide-eyed Houston was feted by pastors involved with the American Word of Faith movement and came back wearing what Bullock remembers as “the loudest shirts we had ever seen”. Everything else changed, too, according to Bullock: “The focus of Hillsong went from the standard Assemblies of God doctrine, which was more working-class and left-wing, to suddenly the prosperity doctrine.” As Hillsong leapt from success to success, Bullock found himself struggling with the increasingly frenetic pace, his own turmoil, and Houston’s leadership style. He finally parted company with Hillsong in 1995, having taken it to the brink of its international musical success. The rupture was wounding to both men.

Bullock tells Good Weekend: “I had an unshakeable spiritual revelation that it was time to leave. There had always been tensions in our relationship. Brian had a fiery temper and domineering leadership style and I was under relentless pressure.” Bullock’s former wife, Janine, says, “They demanded blood of him, but it still wasn’t enough.”

The sense of betrayal was deep on both sides. Over the ensuing years Houston has repeatedly claimed (without naming Bullock) that he had no warning of the departure of the man he then considered his best friend. Bullock emphatically disputes this.

Most distressing to Bullock – and others who admired his work – is that he has now been effectively airbrushed from Hillsong’s history.

By the late 1990s Hillsong was in gleaming purpose- built premises, and feted enough to have John Howard open its new convention centre in 2002. Brian Houston had by now risen to the hugely influential position of national president of the Assemblies of God (AOG), a movement with which Hillsong was affiliated.

In early 1999 Frank stepped aside from the city branch, asking his son to take over. Few knew Frank was secretly fending off the first of the child sexual abuse allegations that would crash around the church with the force of a tsunami.

In evidence before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse at the end of last year, Brian Houston said he’d had no inkling of his father’s dark secrets before October 1999.

He spoke of feeling shock and devastation, described how he had confronted his father at the first opportunity and – after convening a meeting of other AOG elders to discuss the crisis – forced Frank to stand aside (albeit on a pension) from further preaching duties.

But the counsel assisting the commission, Simeon Beckett, has taken a sterner view of the matter. Late last year he recommended Houston be referred to NSW police for failing to pass on that earliest claim of abuse (others involving at least six boys in New Zealand surfaced later). And he chastised Houston for failing to recognise the conflict of interest inherent in having carriage of the complaint against his father while also being head of Hillsong and head of the Assemblies of God.

My pictures and comments

brian houston zBrian Houston 1eBrian Houston 1g

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston 1ibrian houston xiiBrian Houston 4

trying to explain it away

Brian: trying to explain it away

The life of Brian

The life of Brian

The SMH article

Houston can barely contain his anger at Beckett’s recommendations. He maintains he respected the wishes of the victim, by then an adult, who had wanted the matter kept in-house; and that elders of the Assemblies of God had full knowledge and oversight of his handling of the affair.

Houston tells Good Weekend: “It didn’t really matter what the facts were, the counsel assisting [the commission] had his mind made up about what happened and never moved off it at any point.”

Frank died in 2004 aged 82, yet despite the gathering storm was still a respectable enough figure for then senior police officer (now NSW police commissioner) Andrew Scipione to attend his funeral. Scipione was also spotted at this year’s Hillsong conference, raising eyebrows among some of the church’s more trenchant critics.

My picture and comment

Phil Pringle. CEO of C3 International. Now a doctor. Regarded the pedophile Frank Houston as his spiritual father.

Phil Pringle. CEO of C3 International based in Sydney Australia. Now a Doctor. Regarded the Pedophile Frank Houston as his Spiritual Father. Has a little something in his syringe to help his mate Brian through all his many troubles.

The SMH article

As Frank’s dark secrets gradually unfurled, Brian Houston slid slowly into a growing dependence on sleeping pills.

In Live Love Lead, he describes falling prey to a growing disconnect between an inner emptiness and the church’s outward success. The climax came one night five years ago with a full-blown panic attack, which washed him up on a “great reef of jagged pain, fear and sorrow”. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, though he says he has now bounced back, through “the grace of God”.

Didn’t he feel he was living a lie through those years, telling others that faith was enough to deliver the good life, even as he was “imploding” inside?

“I don’t see that I was being fake at all,” he says. “I’ve never stopped loving people, never stopped loving God. “You call it a façade, but I don’t even see it like that, because to me, I was still genuine in everything I did.”

When Frank was 78, he told Brian that Frank’s own father had once abused him after coming home drunk.

“I think my father was homosexual, a closet homosexual,” says Houston, almost as an aside. “I’m no psychiatrist … but I think whatever frustrations he had, he took out on children.”

My comments:

“C’mon Brian, your dad was a child rapist all his life. Get over it. We’re all sick of you crapping on trying to sanitise yourself, your old rampant sicko pedophile dad, and your whole damn greedy avarice out-of-control family. Why don’t you just shut the whole darn thing down and go fishing or something?”

The SMH article:

The Hillsong United band takes the stage, its members in skinny jeans and T-shirts, frontman Joel Houston in an edgy black hat, as they pump up the volume under sweeping lights. “You take me higher than I’ve been before … You are everything I want and more.” Thousands sing along, arms upraised, eyes closed, in the grip of a kind of rapture. Somewhere here at the conference, keeping a lowish profile, is pop star Justin Bieber, who hangs out with Joel at Hillsong in New York. Joel is married to a fashion and lifestyle-blogging Brazilian model, Esther Lima Houston, who struts her stuff on misswhoo.com, providing “an unfiltered lifestyle platform for the modern woman”.

Happy, shiny people. Bullock once said he “came to think that the patron saint of Hillsong was Gianni Versace”. Jakubowicz says he’s “fascinated by how successfully Hillsong has integrated the various elements of contemporary culture into the whole story”.

Yet while it works hard at cultivating its hip, contemporary appeal, there is still little comfort to be found here for those who are openly homosexual. Former Hillsong regular Alex Pittaway, now studying theology in the US, says he saw one friend devastated after being told by the church that “we can’t have gay people in speaking or leadership roles”. He says others were left wounded after being directed towards what was known as “ex-gay reparative therapy”, aimed at “curing” them of homosexuality. “Gay people need to know that there is only so far they can go in Hillsong,” says Pittaway.

Anthony Venn-Brown, a former Assemblies of God pastor who broke with the movement after falling in love with a man, now runs Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International, an organisation aimed at building links between religious organisations and gay and bisexual Christians. He says Houston has a “heart for people” but “like many evangelical leaders is on a journey that requires greater understanding of sexual orientation”. Houston recently referred to gay marriage as the “elephant in the room” for the churches.

Hillsong’s finances are another perennial topic for critics, aired copiously on watchdog websites. (Infamously, in 1999 Houston put out a tome entitled You Need More Money; he regrets it now, though, insisting “the idea of the book, I think, was pure”.) In the past, Hillsong has encouraged tithing (rendering 10 per cent of income to the church) and is notorious for the “love offerings” it solicits at religious services for visiting preachers. Steve West, a former Hillsong regular who attended its leadership college 15 years ago, says Hillsong and its affiliates “are the only churches I know to have sermons designed to inspire giving, every single service. I have run a church ministry. This is totally unnecessary behaviour.”

The church’s financial operations are enmeshed in nine different corporate entities registered with the federal government’s Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, and despite Hillsong’s frequent promises of financial transparency, that’s not been the experience of West, who says when he sought access to the books he was rebuffed and demonised.

“Their response was along the lines of trying to shut me down – I got a letter from their lawyers, a cease and desist notice.” Hillsong rejects the claims and says it had to “take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from baseless and inappropriate comments”. The bulk of Hillsong’s tax-free millions appears to go towards funding its relentless expansion, and keeping its own intricate machinery running, though it does underwrite a range of charitable activities. In recent years it has raised nearly $1.5 million for victims of natural disasters abroad. It runs prison outreach services, offers free counselling to those unable to afford mental health treatment, and last year distributed more than 130,000 food and toy items. It says it reached thousands of people with its volunteer-run CityCare street teams.

In 2013 Houston attempted to quell speculation about how much he and his family were earning from the rivers of gold Hillsong was generating by posting an online letter entitled “Bobbie’s and My Finances”. He stated he was earning $150,000 that year from the church plus $150,000 from Leadership Ministries Incorporated (LMI), which he described as “the entity by which Bobbie and I conduct our broader ministry” worldwide as guest speakers. (There is a well-trodden circuit for celebrity pastors, who were thick on the ground at the Hillsong’s own conference this year.) Personal royalties were not clarified, nor were Bobbie’s earnings.

When Good Weekend asked for an update on this year’s figures, a church spokesman demurred, saying, “We do not disclose the remuneration arrangements of any individual employee due to privacy and confidentiality issues.” The 2014 return for LMI showed it had gross earnings of nearly $670,000 and two full-time employees, whose names Hillsong did not disclose.

In early July, Channel Nine’s A Current Affair took fresh aim at the church’s well-filled coffers and the heavy burden placed on church volunteers.

The segment included an interview outside Allphones Arena (as the Hillsong conference was underway) with Tanya Levin, author of People in Glass Houses: An Insider’s Story of Life In and Out of Hillsong, a critique of Hillsong published in 2007. Acting on a tip-off from a Hillsong member – who told police at the venue that Levin had previously been banned by the church from venturing onto any Hillsong property – including premises the church had hired for events – police swooped and arrested her. She now faces trespass charges and will appear in court again this month. Thus far Hillsong is refusing to comment on the case. However, it has again outraged church critics; West sees it as further evidence of an internal culture deeply averse to criticism.

“If you criticise them its because you have let in a ‘root of bitterness’ – these are the terms they use,” he claims. “Any Hillsong pastor who has strayed from the vision is quickly ostracised.”

Even those who like and admire Houston worry that the circle surrounding him may be overly deferential. Rosebrough argues that the fact that Hillsong and other family-dominated Pentecostal churches have no “traditional ecclesiastical oversight” makes them more vulnerable to potential conflicts between family interests and those of the organisation more broadly.

But Houston insists that “there are all the other incredible people around me … it’s not like I’m the king of Saudi or something.”

Reverend Tim Costello, a Baptist minister, believes Hillsong is doing good work among young Australians who would otherwise be like “beached whales who have lost their radar”.

“It’s much better being in church than doing ice in nightclubs,” he says. “Young people living in a land of plenty are yearning for both spirituality and a sense of justice, and when you bring these two things together it is a powerful statement of true Christian faith. I do believe Hillsong are trying to do this.”

Steve West is more blunt about where Hillsong’s appeal lies: “Moral certainty, community, a sense of identity. There is something so attractive about a black and white view of the world.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/inside-the-hillsong-churchs-moneymaking-machine-20151026-gkip53.html#ixzz3rUpUGrg9
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

My comments and pictures:

Why didn’t Deborah Snow ask a few tough questions like: “Were you ever abused by your old rampant evil child rapist father?” and “Why do you refuse point blank to help the boy and young male pedophile victims of the Founder of Hillsong, your father Frank Houston’s sexual abuses”.

Bobbie and Brian's mansion

Hillsong’s Queen and King. Bobbie and Brian’s mansion in Glenhaven Sydney Australia bought with Hillsong tithes.

The house of Bobbie and Brian.

The Mansion of Bobbie and Brian.

Brian Houston house 3 Brian Houston house 5

Brian and Bobbie Houston's McMansion Palace in Glenhaven, Western Sydney.

King Brian and Queen Bobbie Houston’s McMansion Palace in Glenhaven, Western Sydney.

Brian Houston house 8 Brian Houston house 9 Brian Houston house 11

Bobbie and Brian's house. Home theatre.

Bobbie and Brian Houston’s Home Theatre.

The Holy Spirit loves you deeply.

The Holy Spirit, the Gentle Dove of Heaven, loves you deeply.

 

Conventionally speaking and out of the greatest respect for God, if we write an adjective before or after one of God’s Names, after I did then, we should use a capital letter on the first letter of that adjective.

A small point. The benefits and wisdom with Christianity and life are in grasping and applying the detail well.

 

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

 

In context:

Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness…

2 Timothy 2:15

 

My skills with words, writing and in knowing and understanding the Holy Bible and the ways of God weren’t established in five minutes.

It has taken a lifetime of tuition and diligence.

 

The writer Donald Elley. Likes to dot his 'i's and cross his 't's.

The writer Donald Elley. Likes to dot his ‘i’s and cross his ‘t’s.

 

My dear father and mother imparted to me all they knew.

 

This is my all-time favourite foto of dad: on holiday, wind-blown hair, his hairy eyebrows, his trusty binoculars, that quizzical "who-me" look. The ultimate free-spirit.

This is my all-time favourite foto of dad: on holiday, wind-blown hair, his hairy eyebrows, his trusty binoculars, that quizzical “who-me” look. The ultimate free-spirit.

Dad. A gentle and loving father. Dad used to think it was funny to wear silly hats and glasses.

Dad. A gentle and loving father. Dad used to think it was funny to wear silly hats and glasses.

mum and dad in Khandallah days. A pinnacle of dad's life. 1970s.

Mum and dad in Khandallah days. Dad, always free-wheeling and confident. Mum, faithful, very godly and a rock of God. A pinnacle of dad’s life. 1970s.

dad ditched the clerical dog collar in the mid 1970s

A hard-hitter. No lightweight. You knew where you stood. But he was very gentle and highly sensitive. Strength mixed with grace. Very godly. Very dignified. Dad wouldn’t take a backward step in the things of God. God’s causes. Dad and his evangelical ministerial colleagues and friends took on the liberals in the Presbyterian Church in the late 1960s and 1970s.

 

These are the types of men and woman we so need God to raise up in this generation, even if all my generation are sweep into the gutter.

 

When I think of the errant men of God who I have been writing about on this my personal blog-site since September 2012 I weep.

Literally weep.

Not feel like weeping. I weep.

 

My heart is in the greatest pain when I think about the carnage these errant men have caused.

 

I also get very angry about these men.

 

Frank Houston.

 

Pastor Frank Houston. Founder of hillsong. Extremely corrupt life-long pedophile.

Pastor Frank Houston. Founder of Hillsong. Extremely evil and corrupt life-long pedophile.

 

I started writing about Frank Houston on 13 September 2012 with my article on this site, ‘Pastor Frank Houston. part 1. Frank’s Houston’s pedophile activities’.

This article has been viewed by 16,000 people.

 

If you google ‘Frank Houston abuse’, it is the first article that will appear.

My article comes up ahead of Wikipedia, the Daily Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald, ABC, London Daily Mail and other media.

It has been the first article if you google ‘Frank Houston abuse’ for over two years.

 

I started writing about Frank Houston, his pedophile activities and his many other faults, in September 2012 before the then Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard called the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

 

My articles were influential in the Royal Commission examining the Houstons, the ACC/ AOG and Hillsong church.

In fact Simeon Beckett, a leading Commission lawyer, quoted directly from the above article on Frank Houston when he outlined the history of the Assemblies of God and other introductory facts.

 

The Royal Commission has contacted me three times for information.

 

I introduced the Royal Commission to victim SA1 (my code name) and organised for him to give them a statement.

 

At that time in October last year, to my knowledge, no victims of Frank Houston were known to the Royal Commission in Australia apart from victim AHA from Coogee Beach, Sydney.

 

I also told them about victim WNZ1 from Wellington, New Zealand, who few people know. Only some immediate family, one pastor in New Zealand and me.

WNZ1 contacted me after reading my blog-site. The Australian Royal Commission have noted his existence.  They don’t need a statement off him because their brief is only to examine Australian cases of sexual abuse of minors (under 18’s).

 

The Royal Commission has uncovered 160,000 victims of Institutional Abuse of minors.

Staggering when you think that’s only the Institutional abuse. The problem of pedophilia is of epidemic proportions in Australia.

 

Neville Johnson

Neville Johnson. Liked oral sex with church secretaries.

Neville Johnson. Liked oral sex with church secretaries. 

 

This man has never repented of crimes against God and man in the 1970s, including having oral sex multiple times with a series of three young church secretaries, including his right hand man’s daughter, spiritual and moral deception and trashing and dumping Queen Street AOG Auckland and running away to Perth.

 

Queen Street AOG was the largest church in Australia or New Zealand at the time.

The  greatest of sins.

Frank Houston was far worse but Neville Johnson is up there in the bad pastor dudes stakes.

Neville Johnson is still ministering from an internet site “Academy of Light’ in Perth, Western Australia, and in a teaching ministry.

Avoid Neville Johnson like the plague.

 

Jim Williams Serial adulterer

 

Jim Williams 2

Jim Williams. Now dsenior pastor of...Don't go near the place.

Jim Williams. Now senior pastor House of Praise in Springwood, Queensland. Don’t go near the place.

 

This man is still ministering and should not be.

Jim Williams is another errant New Zealand pastor who should just go fishing or do gardening for old ladies and leave the Blessed Body of Christ, God’s Precious Jewel from Heaven, alone.

 

Jim Williams followed Frank Houston as the Head of the New Zealand Assemblies of God Church (AOG).

He was the 9th General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in New Zealand was from October 1977 – 1985, an eight year term.

Sydney James “Jim” Williams was born on 11 September 1935.

Jim Williams is a former pastor and former leader of one of the most influential churches in the Assemblies of God in New Zealand in Hamilton.

He is currently pastoring in Queensland, Australia.

Jim Williams became a published author with a work based on the book of Proverbs called “Wisdom – the missing link”, a book on handling pastoral problems.

One of the most difficult things he had to manage as General Superintendent was the fallout following the revelation of the financial and moral failure of Neville Johnson then pastor of the largest church in Australasia, the Queen Street Assembly of God.

 

Departure from New Zealand

Williams left for Australia in March 1989, the leadership of the AOG then passing to Pastor Wayne Hughes. In Australia Williams served in what was then known as the Garden City Church in Brisbane.

 

Adultery

In 1994 the Executive of the NZ AOG received a letter from the Australian Assemblies stating that Williams had been guilty of adultery while pastor at the Hamilton AOG Assembly.

Williams was replaced as Pastor of the Garden City Christian Church by his deputy Senior Pastor, Pastor Geoff Holdway. Pastor Holdway differed from Williams charismatic style by focusing on a more fundamental adherence and teaching of scripture. This was based on his background in the Baptist theological seminary with a much more Pentecostal emphasis on scriptural interpretation.

At this time Williams was pastoring in Australia.

He lost his Australian credentials, but these were eventually returned after a time of counseling.

However he remained barred from ministry in the NZ AOG due to a failure to make any efforts to put the matter right in New Zealand.

In 2000 it became apparent that the extent of his sexual impropriety was much greater than admitted to the Australian body.

His credentials in New Zealand were permanently revoked for adulterous offences and other indiscretions involving different women over an extended period of years.

Following this the Hamilton Assembly (Gateway Christian Centre) left the denomination.

 

Current Ministry

Jim Williams is no longer associated with the Assemblies of God in Australia, and is now pastoring a church The House of Praise in Springwood, Queensland.

 

Jim Williams. Now senior pastor of House of Praise, Springwood, Queensland. Don’t go near the place.

 

fire of God 10fire 8H S Fire 2H S Fire 3

 

The article below was published in the Good Weekend section of the Sydney Morning Herald on 14 November 2015.

It’s pretty light-weight, the issues it raises have been covered many times before, and it doesn’t ask the hard questions, so it’s going to need my help to get it where it should be.

I’ll publish it now in full and make helpful comments as I go through it.

I’ll also add my own pictures and images.

 

Hillsong New York City 11

Josh Canfield Hillsong NYC gay worship leader with gay live-in partner Reed.

Josh Canfield Hillsong New York City gay worship leader with former gay live-in partner Reed. They were planning to marry at Hillsong but things didn’t work out. Josh helpfully informed us: “Our relationship is not yet consummated”, whatever that means, even though they lived together and hosted a gay Hillsong home bible study in their lounge (or bedroom?)

 

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) article:

Inside the Hillsong Church’s money-making machine

Sydney Morning Herald

November 14, 2015

Reporter: Deborah Snow

While Hillsong’s charismatic leader Brian Houston presides over a glitzy religious empire, he has not only had to face a Royal Commission grilling, but questions over theology, money and his church’s treatment of homosexuals.

My picture and comments:

Hi. I'm Bobbie Houston. Darlings, can't talk now. My ride is waiting. Going down to Double Bay to see my hairdresser and pop in to my Cosmetic Surgeon for a little touch-up.

Hi. I’m Bobbie Houston, Brian’s wife. “Darlings, can’t talk now. My chauffeur is waiting. Going down to Double Bay to see my hairdresser and pop in to my Cosmetic Surgeon for a little touch-up”.

The SMH article:

The charismatic leader of the Hillsong Church divides with his stance on homosexuality, wealth creation and the way he handled his father’s child abuse.

Sydney’s Allphones Arena looms out of the chilly dusk on a late June evening like one of painter Jeffrey Smart’s visions of urban dystopia.

Inside the cavernous space, the senior pastor and co-founder of the Hillsong Church, Brian Houston, is prowling the stage before more than 20,000 mesmerised souls who have flocked here for the opening of the church’s week-long annual conference, famed for its spectacle, fiery preaching and rock-concert atmosphere.

My picture and comments:

Pope Pete, the hip-hop groovy cool youth Pope of Baulkham Hills, Sydney , Australia. Formerly plain old Brian Houston from the bland grey suburb of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.

Pope Pete, the hip-hop groovy cool Youth Pope of Baulkham Hills, Sydney, Australia. Formerly plain old Brian Houston from the bland grey suburb of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.

The SMH article:

“I think my father was homosexual, a closet homosexual. I’m no psychiatrist … but I think whatever frustrations he had, he took out on children”.

My picture and comments:

Pastor Frank Houston. Lifelong pedophile. Answerable to God.

Pastor Frank Houston. Lifelong pedophile. Started abusing little boys aged 7 to 12 when he was in his teens, By the age of 20 he was a hardened pedophile. The covert secret pedophile Frank Houston decided that the Christian ministry was the best way to break down the defence mechanisms of good wholesome trusting Christian families and access their little boys and young males. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston probably sexually abused over 400 boys and young males in his lifetime, probably including his two sons, Brian and Graeme. Graeme refuses to go to church and Brian is in denial. I have definite proof through reliable testimony of victims of 13 boy and young teen victims, but mainly little boys aged 7 to 11. This is only the tip of the iceberg. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston was an extremely active pedophile for his whole adult lifetime. He confessed to his son Brian that he was “very active as a pedophile in the 1960s and 1970s”. This was when he was in his 40s and 50s”. This is when he sexually abused all the little boys that I know of. In the 1980s he switched his homosexual desires to young males in their 20s and 30s. He surrounded himself with young men in this demography at Christian Life Centre, Darlinghurst in the 1980s and 1990s. This was the first name of Hillsong. The criminal pedophile Frank Houston moved to Sydney to escape looming criminal charges for an out-of-control pedophile spree in New Zealand.

The SMH article:

The faithful, the curious, the spiritually hungry: they’re packed to the roof in tight rows, eyes fixed on this master showman. At 61, Houston seems the embodiment of Hillsong’s promise: olive-skinned, unlined brow, gleaming teeth, designer stubble, and powerful build set off by jeans, open-neck shirt and tailored jacket. A veritable poster boy for the boomer generation.

My picture and comments:

I wonder if Brian will ever be led away like this.

I wonder if Brian will ever be led away like this. He won’t be looking so young and bouncy, as described above, if the NSW Justice System prosecutes him for not reporting his old pedophile dad to the NSW Police in 1999 when he should have, according to his Statutory Duty as a leader of a large Christian organisation. For five years he sheltered his old pedophile dad Frank Houston for until he died, his mortal soul going into God’s Hands.

The SMH article:

He’s in full flight – cajoling, conversing, proselytising – when suddenly he drops like a stone to the stage and launches into a series of push-ups.

My pictures and comments:

When I listen to Brian Houston preaching, I think he’s insane. I think, “how can any rational and conscious human being listen to his trollop?”

 

The SMH article:

“We are lean, mean kingdom machines, all set for everything that God wants to do in this place. Amen! Amen!” he proclaims, pumping the stage as they stomp and cheer.

“Your words can frame your future,” he tells them. “Speak your faith, start seeing miracles … Owner of your first home! Best-selling author … Mother of handsome sons and beautiful daughters! Businessman who is prosperous and fruitful! Your brother’s salvation, your sister’s healing … Speak it into being! Speak it into being! Speak it into being! Amen!”

My comments: 

Who does Brian Houston think Australians are? A bunch of bogans?

I’d say there aren’t many, if any, articulate, reflective, intelligent, rational people left at Hillsong.

They’ve all been shunted out the Hillsong door.

Brian Houston’s preaching makes me want to puke.

The SMH article:

The uplifting mood is punctured for me two days later when I’m hauled out of my $300 conference seat near the rafters by a burly security guard wearing a Hillsong T-shirt. My sin, apparently, is to have made people “feel uncomfortable” by writing in a notebook and asking the young chap next to me a few questions.

My comments and picture:

In my recent Hillsong Insider series, the Hillsong Insider has been expressing how he feels Hillsong Security are a bunch of thugs, and how Senior Pastor Steve McGhie is an insensitive bogan.

The above incident demonstrates the Hillsong Insiders point. Hillsong have really lost it.

Pastor Steve McGhie

Pastor Steve McGhie. Senior Pastor at Hillsong City Church in Waterloo. Brian Houston’s goof-ball bro-in- law. God help us. God help the naive believing inexperienced Hillsong young faithful.  About Steve McGhie, the Hillsong Insider who I’ve interviewed, says: “Steve McGhie is Racist, Bigoted and Unloving. Steve McGhie has no heart for the poor and downtrodden of Sydney’s Inner City, Hillsong City’s neighbours. That Steve McGhie hates Aboriginal. That he hates lesbians and calls them “lady-lovers” and throws them out the Hillsong door”.

The SMH article:

Brian Houston speaks to the media after appearing at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in October last year.

My photograph and comments:

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston: His gospel is that “Greed is Good”. This is the polar opposite of the words and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the mighty Apostle Paul. Brian Houston doesn’t know the Lord Jesus Christ.

The SMH article:

When I ask Houston some days afterwards about this subtle undercurrent of paranoia, he expresses surprise. He suggests it could have been a response to his stark warnings from the stage about Channel Nine’s A Current Affair, which had been quizzing Hillsongers outside the conference about their financial contributions to the church (a perennial sore point).

“ACA just lies” he says, eyes blazing. “Full stop. You can quote me. They are just liars.”

My photographs and comments:

Brian Houston 1b

Pastor Brian Houston, the criminal pedophile Frank Houston's son. In denial.

Pastor Brian Houston, the criminal pedophile Frank Houston’s son. In denial.

Brian Houston 1e Brian Houston 1f Brian Houston 1g

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston: “Current Affair are liars. They are just liars liars liars. I’m a liar liar liar. My father was a liar liar liar. What am I saying? Bobbie Bobbie Bobbie, My Foxy Princess and the Queen of Hillsong and the Queen of My Soul. My love. My Fair One. I’m feeling faint faint faint. Please bring me some more of those PTSD pills. I think I’m loosing it loosing it loosing it”.

The SMH article:

There’s more bristling when talk turns to the darkest cloud currently sitting on Hillsong’s horizon, the fallout from his appearance at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse last year (of which more later). “In their eyes, I didn’t do a thing right,” he says defiantly. Hillsong’s reputation for being on the thin-skinned side is starting to make some sense.

My photograph and comments:

Big bro Brian Hoston CEO of Hillsong organisation:

Brian Houston CEO of the Hillsong organisation at Day One of the Royal Commission: “Could you please repeat the question… Could you please repeat the question… Could you please repeat the question?” I think Brian’s psychiatrist lowered the dose level of his medications for Day Two of the Royal Commission.

The SMH article:

Our interview takes place in a private suite of rooms upstairs at the sprawling church complex in Alexandria (one of several valuable Sydney sites Hillsong owns) just as he’s about to jet off overseas for three months on church business.

Houston and his equally burnished wife, Bobbie, 58, the reigning couple of Australian Pentecostalism, are riding the crest of a wave that shows no signs of breaking. The Hillsong empire they founded (she, too, is a senior pastor) pulled in tax-free revenues of nearly $80 million in Australia last year and more than $100 million internationally. It is on the ground in 15 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas, and broadcast in 160 nations. And it’s still growing. “I don’t feel there are any limits on how far we should try and go to reach as many people as we possibly can,” Houston says.

My pictures and comments:

Pastor Brian Houston.

Pastor Brian Houston. “No limits”.

Senior Joint Head Pastor of Hillsong international and the Hillsong Kingdoms stretching to the ends of the earth, as far as the vultures and eagle eyes can see.

Queen Bee Bobbie Houston. Eternal Princess and Queen Bee of the Hillsong Sisterhood. Botoxed to the Brim. Travels the world in luxury. No expense spared. Lives in a Houston McMansion in Glenhaven West Sydney. Only the very best will do for Queen Bobbie. Roars louder than all the Felons of Hillsong. (how do you spell Felions?). Felines, I think. The English language can be trickier than Brian Houston. Queen Bobbie: Senior Joint Head Pastor of Hillsong International based at Baulkham Hills Sydney Australia, and Queen Bee over all the Hillsong Kingdoms stretching to the ends of the earth, as far as the vultures and eagle eyes can see.

The SMH article:

Their three grown children all hold leadership positions within the church (though Houston flatly rejects suggestions it’s looking like a family business).

Sons Ben, 33, and Joel, 37, lead the charge in the US, with Ben having “planted” a Hillsong offshoot in LA and Joel becoming assistant pastor in New York. Daughter Laura, 28, and son-in-law Peter Toganivalu are youth pastors at Hillsong in Sydney.

My pictures and comments:

Joel Houston. Mummy's boy. Mummy spoils her kids rotten.

Joel Houston. Mummy’s boy. Mummy spoils her kids rotten.

“Pastor”Joel Houston. Pampered. Great sense of entitlement. “I’m Amazing. I’m the great Brian Houston’s son…Praise the Lord I’m Amazing”. Co-pastor of Hillsong New York City. Frank Houston’s talented grandson.

“Pastor” Joel Houston and “Pastor” Carl Lentz. Head pastors of Hillsong New York City. Gay lovers.

The SMH article:

There are bible training colleges, a Hillsong Performing Arts Academy, a Hollywood-produced film in the works, and Brian and Bobbie’s many books, CDs and DVDs. Underpinning it all is the hugely successful and lucrative Hillsong United rock band, fronted by Joel, which has soared to stratospheric heights on US Christian music charts.

It’s all too much for critics such as American pastor Chris Rosebrough, who labels Hillsong an “evangelical/ industrial complex” and Houston the “CEO of an international multimedia entertainment company” that “happens to have venues around the world where they do something they call church”.

Rosebrough runs Pirate Christian Radio, an online religious radio network that regularly takes aim at what he calls Hillsong’s “big box” approach to Christianity with its “squishy self-help inspirational messages” and “rock and roll laser light show”. More fundamentally, he takes issue with Hillsong’s theology, accusing Houston of teaching the “Word of Faith heresy”.

“It teaches that God wants you to be rich and prosperous so that you can be a blessing to other people, and that you do this by creating the future with your words,” he tells Good Weekend from his base in North Dakota. “It distorts the scriptures, and it’s a doctrine that wasn’t even taught until American televangelists invented it maybe 30 to 40 years ago.”

A similar queasiness about Hillsong’s messaging is felt by a number of mainstream church leaders here, though there is greater reluctance to say so openly.

“Brian’s intuitive genius is marketing,” says one senior churchman, who asks not to be quoted. “Hillsong is a culture – success, beautiful people, a positive message and nothing negative. The message is, ‘You’re awesome and God is awesome and we are God’s chosen and we have to be seen to be awesome.’ And when you tease out what awesome means, it basically means prosperity. They go very close to going that to be poor is sinful, to be saved successful.”

Sociologist Andrew Jakubowicz, of the University of Technology Sydney, observes that “this is not a church where the leader washes the feet of beggars”.

My picture and comments:

Brian Houston:

Brian Houston: “Greed is good”. “I’d wash the feet of beggars if I knew any but I’d rather get them to tithe their Social Security Pension”.

The SMH article:

But Houston is unapologetic about the self- advancement psychology embedded in Hillsong’s message. “I’d rather give people some hope than no hope,” he says. “We encourage them to look to Jesus and build their lives on the right foundations. My methods are relatable in a world where many say the church is a dying force. And I’m not prepared as a church leader to just sit there and let it die.”

Just as the Murdochs have taken three generations to build an empire, the Houstons have taken three generations to build Hillsong into the behemoth it is today. The more it grows, the more adherents see this as proof of divine endorsement.

“People are not looking for stale religion” with “dilapidated buildings filled with narrow-minded, self-righteous finger pointers”, Houston writes in his most recent book, Live Love Lead, released in July. “I am convinced beyond a doubt that God didn’t create us to live mediocre, settle-for-less lives.”

There was nothing settle-for-less about Brian’s father, William Francis “Frank” Houston, a consummate showman and gifted preacher whom Houston hero- worshipped as a boy. As a youngster, he would wave his dad off “longingly” on ministry trips, “believing that I, too, would do just that one day.”

Yet Frank, the empire-founder, was very nearly its undoing. In 1999, sensational allegations surfaced that he had been a serial paedophile, preying on boys and young men whom he had met through the church.

The revelations were shocking, perhaps less so to those familiar with Frank’s inauspicious start as a churchman. A former New Zealand Salvation Army officer who had left that organisation under a cloud when awkward discrepancies showed up in the local accounts, Frank suffered several nervous breakdowns in young adulthood. At least one episode required hospitalisation. So destitute were he and his young family that at one point they possessed nothing beyond “six forks, two pairs of blankets and an old radio”, according to his stalwart wife, Hazel.

The man who saved Frank Houston was a barnstorming Pentecostal preacher, Ray Bloomfield, who took him on as a kind of apprentice at a church near Auckland in the late 1950s.

Under Bloomfield’s tutelage, Frank became entranced by Pentecostalism, a form of charismatic Christian worship that celebrates exuberant physical manifestations of religious ecstasy such as the incomprehensible babbling known as “speaking in tongues”.

In her 1989 book, Being Frank, Hazel recalled how her husband would kneel in prayer “as close to Ray as possible so that he might experience the gushings of Ray’s tongues”.

When Bloomfield eventually left New Zealand for Canada, he handed his church over to Frank who, by some never fully explained process, became an Assemblies of God minister in his own right. He became an entertaining preacher who would “do crazy things like throw a glass of water over the congregation and make funny jokes – he endeared himself to a lot of people”, recalls one former pastor.

Frank’s enjoyment of the company of young men was noted, but rang no alarm bells at the time. It was always seen as “Frank being this father figure to young, gentle men”.

His fierce ambitions for a successor centred on his second son, Brian, rather than eldest, Graeme, who became a fireman and moved to Britain.

In early 1999, just before the first whiff of scandal hit, Frank issued his own book, The Release of the Human Spirit, in which he described laying hands on the infant Brian and beseeching the Lord to “make this boy grow to be a mighty man of God”.

The Houstons arrived in Sydney in 1977 after a divine visitation ordered Frank to “plant a church” in the harbour city. They set up the Sydney Christian Life Centre, initially in Double Bay, and ran it on a shoestring, with newlyweds Brian (then aged 24) and Bobbie coming out from NZ to help them a year later. Brian washed windows to make ends meet, the younger couple eventually buying themselves what one former friend recalls as a “tiny little bungalow in Kings Langley”.

In 1983, Brian Houston ventured out to nearby Baulkham Hills in the city’s north-west to set up an offshoot of his father’s church, calling it the Hills Christian Life Centre. He chose the Hills, he told the ABC’s Australian Story some years ago, partly because of a hugely successful car dealer out there who “used to be on the TV and sell Holdens. And I thought to myself, ‘If you could build the largest Holden dealership in Australia there, surely it must be somewhere where you could build a church.’ ”

Houston soon hit spiritual pay dirt, teaming up with the man who would become one of his closest friends: gifted musician and former ABC technical operations officer Geoff Bullock, who wrote, directed and produced much of Hillsong’s music in those years (delivering three gold albums and a platinum in the process). A trip to the US in 1989 also proved a turning point.

A wide-eyed Houston was feted by pastors involved with the American Word of Faith movement and came back wearing what Bullock remembers as “the loudest shirts we had ever seen”. Everything else changed, too, according to Bullock: “The focus of Hillsong went from the standard Assemblies of God doctrine, which was more working-class and left-wing, to suddenly the prosperity doctrine.” As Hillsong leapt from success to success, Bullock found himself struggling with the increasingly frenetic pace, his own turmoil, and Houston’s leadership style. He finally parted company with Hillsong in 1995, having taken it to the brink of its international musical success. The rupture was wounding to both men.

Bullock tells Good Weekend: “I had an unshakeable spiritual revelation that it was time to leave. There had always been tensions in our relationship. Brian had a fiery temper and domineering leadership style and I was under relentless pressure.” Bullock’s former wife, Janine, says, “They demanded blood of him, but it still wasn’t enough.”

The sense of betrayal was deep on both sides. Over the ensuing years Houston has repeatedly claimed (without naming Bullock) that he had no warning of the departure of the man he then considered his best friend. Bullock emphatically disputes this.

Most distressing to Bullock – and others who admired his work – is that he has now been effectively airbrushed from Hillsong’s history.

By the late 1990s Hillsong was in gleaming purpose- built premises, and feted enough to have John Howard open its new convention centre in 2002. Brian Houston had by now risen to the hugely influential position of national president of the Assemblies of God (AOG), a movement with which Hillsong was affiliated.

In early 1999 Frank stepped aside from the city branch, asking his son to take over. Few knew Frank was secretly fending off the first of the child sexual abuse allegations that would crash around the church with the force of a tsunami.

In evidence before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse at the end of last year, Brian Houston said he’d had no inkling of his father’s dark secrets before October 1999.

He spoke of feeling shock and devastation, described how he had confronted his father at the first opportunity and – after convening a meeting of other AOG elders to discuss the crisis – forced Frank to stand aside (albeit on a pension) from further preaching duties.

But the counsel assisting the commission, Simeon Beckett, has taken a sterner view of the matter. Late last year he recommended Houston be referred to NSW police for failing to pass on that earliest claim of abuse (others involving at least six boys in New Zealand surfaced later). And he chastised Houston for failing to recognise the conflict of interest inherent in having carriage of the complaint against his father while also being head of Hillsong and head of the Assemblies of God.

My pictures and comments

brian houston zBrian Houston 1eBrian Houston 1g

trying to explain it away

Brian: trying to explain it away

The life of Brian

The life of Brian

The SMH article

Houston can barely contain his anger at Beckett’s recommendations. He maintains he respected the wishes of the victim, by then an adult, who had wanted the matter kept in-house; and that elders of the Assemblies of God had full knowledge and oversight of his handling of the affair.

Houston tells Good Weekend: “It didn’t really matter what the facts were, the counsel assisting [the commission] had his mind made up about what happened and never moved off it at any point.”

Frank died in 2004 aged 82, yet despite the gathering storm was still a respectable enough figure for then senior police officer (now NSW police commissioner) Andrew Scipione to attend his funeral. Scipione was also spotted at this year’s Hillsong conference, raising eyebrows among some of the church’s more trenchant critics.

My picture and comment

Phil Pringle. CEO of C3 International. Now a doctor. Regarded the pedophile Frank Houston as his spiritual father.

Phil Pringle. CEO of C3 International based in Sydney Australia. Now a Doctor. Regarded the Pedophile Frank Houston as his Spiritual Father. Has a little something in his syringe to help his mate Brian through all his many troubles.

The SMH article

As Frank’s dark secrets gradually unfurled, Brian Houston slid slowly into a growing dependence on sleeping pills.

In Live Love Lead, he describes falling prey to a growing disconnect between an inner emptiness and the church’s outward success. The climax came one night five years ago with a full-blown panic attack, which washed him up on a “great reef of jagged pain, fear and sorrow”. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, though he says he has now bounced back, through “the grace of God”.

Didn’t he feel he was living a lie through those years, telling others that faith was enough to deliver the good life, even as he was “imploding” inside?

“I don’t see that I was being fake at all,” he says. “I’ve never stopped loving people, never stopped loving God. “You call it a façade, but I don’t even see it like that, because to me, I was still genuine in everything I did.”

When Frank was 78, he told Brian that Frank’s own father had once abused him after coming home drunk.

“I think my father was homosexual, a closet homosexual,” says Houston, almost as an aside. “I’m no psychiatrist … but I think whatever frustrations he had, he took out on children.”

My comments:

“C’mon Brian, your dad was a child rapist all his life. Get over it. We’re all sick of you crapping on trying to sanitise yourself, your old rampant sicko pedophile dad, and your whole damn greedy avarice out-of-control family. Why don’t you just shut the whole darn thing down and go fishing or something?”

The SMH article:

The Hillsong United band takes the stage, its members in skinny jeans and T-shirts, frontman Joel Houston in an edgy black hat, as they pump up the volume under sweeping lights. “You take me higher than I’ve been before … You are everything I want and more.” Thousands sing along, arms upraised, eyes closed, in the grip of a kind of rapture. Somewhere here at the conference, keeping a lowish profile, is pop star Justin Bieber, who hangs out with Joel at Hillsong in New York. Joel is married to a fashion and lifestyle-blogging Brazilian model, Esther Lima Houston, who struts her stuff on misswhoo.com, providing “an unfiltered lifestyle platform for the modern woman”.

Happy, shiny people. Bullock once said he “came to think that the patron saint of Hillsong was Gianni Versace”. Jakubowicz says he’s “fascinated by how successfully Hillsong has integrated the various elements of contemporary culture into the whole story”.

Yet while it works hard at cultivating its hip, contemporary appeal, there is still little comfort to be found here for those who are openly homosexual. Former Hillsong regular Alex Pittaway, now studying theology in the US, says he saw one friend devastated after being told by the church that “we can’t have gay people in speaking or leadership roles”. He says others were left wounded after being directed towards what was known as “ex-gay reparative therapy”, aimed at “curing” them of homosexuality. “Gay people need to know that there is only so far they can go in Hillsong,” says Pittaway.

Anthony Venn-Brown, a former Assemblies of God pastor who broke with the movement after falling in love with a man, now runs Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International, an organisation aimed at building links between religious organisations and gay and bisexual Christians. He says Houston has a “heart for people” but “like many evangelical leaders is on a journey that requires greater understanding of sexual orientation”. Houston recently referred to gay marriage as the “elephant in the room” for the churches.

Hillsong’s finances are another perennial topic for critics, aired copiously on watchdog websites. (Infamously, in 1999 Houston put out a tome entitled You Need More Money; he regrets it now, though, insisting “the idea of the book, I think, was pure”.) In the past, Hillsong has encouraged tithing (rendering 10 per cent of income to the church) and is notorious for the “love offerings” it solicits at religious services for visiting preachers. Steve West, a former Hillsong regular who attended its leadership college 15 years ago, says Hillsong and its affiliates “are the only churches I know to have sermons designed to inspire giving, every single service. I have run a church ministry. This is totally unnecessary behaviour.”

The church’s financial operations are enmeshed in nine different corporate entities registered with the federal government’s Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, and despite Hillsong’s frequent promises of financial transparency, that’s not been the experience of West, who says when he sought access to the books he was rebuffed and demonised.

“Their response was along the lines of trying to shut me down – I got a letter from their lawyers, a cease and desist notice.” Hillsong rejects the claims and says it had to “take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from baseless and inappropriate comments”. The bulk of Hillsong’s tax-free millions appears to go towards funding its relentless expansion, and keeping its own intricate machinery running, though it does underwrite a range of charitable activities. In recent years it has raised nearly $1.5 million for victims of natural disasters abroad. It runs prison outreach services, offers free counselling to those unable to afford mental health treatment, and last year distributed more than 130,000 food and toy items. It says it reached thousands of people with its volunteer-run CityCare street teams.

In 2013 Houston attempted to quell speculation about how much he and his family were earning from the rivers of gold Hillsong was generating by posting an online letter entitled “Bobbie’s and My Finances”. He stated he was earning $150,000 that year from the church plus $150,000 from Leadership Ministries Incorporated (LMI), which he described as “the entity by which Bobbie and I conduct our broader ministry” worldwide as guest speakers. (There is a well-trodden circuit for celebrity pastors, who were thick on the ground at the Hillsong’s own conference this year.) Personal royalties were not clarified, nor were Bobbie’s earnings.

When Good Weekend asked for an update on this year’s figures, a church spokesman demurred, saying, “We do not disclose the remuneration arrangements of any individual employee due to privacy and confidentiality issues.” The 2014 return for LMI showed it had gross earnings of nearly $670,000 and two full-time employees, whose names Hillsong did not disclose.

In early July, Channel Nine’s A Current Affair took fresh aim at the church’s well-filled coffers and the heavy burden placed on church volunteers.

The segment included an interview outside Allphones Arena (as the Hillsong conference was underway) with Tanya Levin, author of People in Glass Houses: An Insider’s Story of Life In and Out of Hillsong, a critique of Hillsong published in 2007. Acting on a tip-off from a Hillsong member – who told police at the venue that Levin had previously been banned by the church from venturing onto any Hillsong property – including premises the church had hired for events – police swooped and arrested her. She now faces trespass charges and will appear in court again this month. Thus far Hillsong is refusing to comment on the case. However, it has again outraged church critics; West sees it as further evidence of an internal culture deeply averse to criticism.

“If you criticise them its because you have let in a ‘root of bitterness’ – these are the terms they use,” he claims. “Any Hillsong pastor who has strayed from the vision is quickly ostracised.”

Even those who like and admire Houston worry that the circle surrounding him may be overly deferential. Rosebrough argues that the fact that Hillsong and other family-dominated Pentecostal churches have no “traditional ecclesiastical oversight” makes them more vulnerable to potential conflicts between family interests and those of the organisation more broadly.

But Houston insists that “there are all the other incredible people around me … it’s not like I’m the king of Saudi or something.”

Reverend Tim Costello, a Baptist minister, believes Hillsong is doing good work among young Australians who would otherwise be like “beached whales who have lost their radar”.

“It’s much better being in church than doing ice in nightclubs,” he says. “Young people living in a land of plenty are yearning for both spirituality and a sense of justice, and when you bring these two things together it is a powerful statement of true Christian faith. I do believe Hillsong are trying to do this.”

Steve West is more blunt about where Hillsong’s appeal lies: “Moral certainty, community, a sense of identity. There is something so attractive about a black and white view of the world.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/inside-the-hillsong-churchs-moneymaking-machine-20151026-gkip53.html#ixzz3rUpUGrg9
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

My comments and pictures:

Why didn’t Deborah Snow ask a few tough questions like: “Were you ever abused by your old rampant evil child rapist father?” and “Why do you refuse point blank to help the boy and young male pedophile victims of the Founder of Hillsong, your father Frank Houston’s sexual abuses”.

Bobbie and Brian's mansion

Hillsong’s Queen and King. Bobbie and Brian’s mansion in Glenhaven Sydney Australia bought with Hillsong tithes.

The house of Bobbie and Brian.

The Mansion of Bobbie and Brian.

Brian Houston house 3 Brian Houston house 5

Brian and Bobbie Houston's McMansion Palace in Glenhaven, Western Sydney.

King Brian and Queen Bobbie Houston’s McMansion Palace in Glenhaven, Western Sydney.

Brian Houston house 8 Brian Houston house 9 Brian Houston house 11

Bobbie and Brian's house. Home theatre.

Bobbie and Brian Houston’s Home Theatre.

Pastor Frank Houston. Founder of hillsong. Extremely corrupt life-long pedophile.

Pastor Frank Houston. Founder of Hillsong. Extremely corrupt life-long pedophile, many of them little boys aged 7 to 12 years old.

 

Here is an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) on 4 August 2007. 

 

The writer David Marr is a gay man who writes for the SMH and who is interested in subjects like religion and organisations like Hillsong.

The first part of the article is about Tanya Levin’s book. Tanya is an ex-Hillsong lady who is now an atheist and a Hillsong watch type person.

Information about Peter Laughton, Frank Houston’s former young worship leader is in the second part of the article.

Peter Laughton was staying as a boarder with Frank Houston and his wife Hazel when the abuse occurred.

Although Peter was in his 20s he feels Frank Houston, who was 60, took advantage of him and abused him.

 

David Marr’s article in the SMH: Hillsong – the church with no answers

 

Tanya Levins

Tanya Levins

 

August 4, 2007

When a former member of the Hillsong congregation started asking hard questions, she was thrown out,

By the miracle of YouTube, we can take a helicopter ride over Sydney any time we like with Pastor Brian Houston as he lays out Hillsong’s Vision 2007. In a voice that has coaxed fortunes from the faithful, he talks prosperity, vision, growth and God’s strategy as the helicopter swoops down on the “beautiful piece of property” Hillsong bought last year in inner-city Rosebery for $28 million.

“I think the finances are where we’re going to have to have the greatest faith.”

His confidence is absolute that the mortgage will soon be paid. To a sceptical outsider, Houston looks oddly like Spike Milligan with cans on his ears and a microphone to his mouth as he looks down on the suburbs where Hillsong’s “state-of-the-art worship centres” are booming already or will soon be delivering the goods for Christ. He shrugs off ridicule. The nation’s most triumphant preacher lives in a world without doubt and without dissent.

“Jesus said a house divided against itself cannot stand,” Houston reminds the thousands who have viewed this film clip and left adoring messages behind. (“Please come to Sweden! We need ‘fire’ here!!!!!!!!!”) Authority is a big deal at Hillsong. You don’t mess with Brian or his wife, Bobbie. “The great strength of our church has always been our unity. A single vision is critical to where we’re going.”

So Tanya Levin is a problem. She asks questions. She wants explanations. She challenges the vision of Hillsong’s leadership. In short, she’s trouble.

Two years into writing People in Glass Houses, her insider’s account of Hillsong, she was finally – and literally – shown the door. “There is no debate within Hillsong,” she says. “That’s fundamentalism. It’s not open to free thought and question, not at all.”

The church wasn’t answering her emails about the book. Houston had ignored her calls. She defied orders not to turn up at the Castle Hill “campus”, until the night came when two security guards carried her from the church and “a very tall, handsome Maori man of about 24” called Dion walked her to her car.

“I cried at Dion,” she writes. “I told him about my dad, and faithfulness and loyalty … whatever kind of Hollywood angel he was dressed as that night, there would come a time when he would outlive the usefulness to the Firm. And then he would lose that simple genuine look he stared at me with. I told him to go home and read his Bible and go ask the preachers why it doesn’t match what they say. He listened like one does to the ravings of a lunatic and I made him listen because that’s his job.”

It was the end of a long affair that began when Levin was 14, the daughter of a banker and his Jewish wife who were brought to God by Billy Graham back in South Africa. The family turned up in the early days of what was to become the behemoth of Hillsong.

“My impressions in September of 1985 were of a bunch of nice people,” Levin writes. They waved their hands and spoke in tongues. Houston preached. “Even today,” she confesses, “when I hear Brian Houston’s voice I feel better.”

People in Glass Houses is a naked account of the joys of religious infatuation and the messy business of re-entering the real world as an adult five years down the track.

Levin fitted the Hillsong pattern perfectly: “There is a 50 per cent turnover every five years. Hillsong is renowned for having a very big back door.” The churning of people through the church is not something they talk about. “Or they say people don’t have the faith to hang on; they’re unable to take it through the tough times. It’s always the fault of the person. It’s never the fault of Hillsong.”

But the ties were deep. University and then a child took her away from the Hills for a decade. She returned as a single mother with a job as a social worker in a Salvation Army women’s refuge and something more than curiosity about the fate of her old church and the friends she still had there. “I’d go sporadically just to have a look.”

Rumours of scandal sharpened her interest. After one hugely popular pastor was expelled in 2001, Levin began asking questions about Brian Houston’s father, Frank – a preacher so powerful he was thought to be able to raise the dead – who was being accused on the internet of pedophilia. But Hillsong was in the dark.

Brian and Bobbie won a standing ovation from the congregation when they finally broke the news that old Frank had an unwavering love of God and deeply repented his moral failings. His crimes were not named that day. Levin was furious: “I had a near-irresistible urge to yell out like the boys used to do in the old days, ‘What did he DO, Brian?’ ”

Levin was asking questions again, this time to write this book. Frank was not her target. She set herself the task of explaining the inner workings of the most successful religious operation in Australia: the joy and despair of faith; the mass hypnosis of worship; the Jesus-centric remedies offered in Hillsong’s outreach programs for drug addiction, domestic violence, unemployment and homosexuality; the ideological submission of women; and the bleeding of money from the faithful.

Levin’s family is among the financial casualties of Hillsong. They’re out of the church now after more than 20 years and her mother’s sardonic joke is that People in Glass Houses might earn a little of their money back. Hillsong’s 19,000 members are expected to tithe – give a 10th of their income to the church – and make big donations on top of that. Levin wrote the book as a warning: “The intention was to tell people, ‘Hey, by the way, they’re taking your money.’ ”

A couple of years ago, Brian Houston boasted on ABC television that Hillsong’s income for the financial year 2004-2005 was $50 million. It’s tax-free, of course. Accounts are never published. Year after year, Hillsong’s music arm has albums high in the charts. When All of the Above faded after many months this year, Saviour King took its place. The earnings are enormous but the begging bowl is always out.

“It’s a corporate organisation being run by corporately trained people to achieve economic outcomes,” Levin says. “Economic outcomes are the new measure of spiritual success and sign of blessing. The fact that Brian Houston is driving a Harley is a sign that God is looking upon him favourably.”

For Levin, the core lie of Hillsong is the claim that God will repay everything you give. And the longer you have to wait, the greater the return. “How do you actually stand in front of people and say if you give me your money God will give it back to you – and actually sleep at night when you’re taking old people’s money? It’s obviously the more desperate people who want to make an investment decision like that. Very vulnerable people.”

Four or five years ago Levin typed “ex born again Christian” into Google and found that “from Sweden to Nevada and back again there were people with the same story”. They are welcomed into a small, warm, friendly congregation with one or two charismatic preachers. But a few years later they’re out the door: “Kicked out and told they are the work of the devil.”

That early friendliness is part of the big sell. “They don’t preach against much. There’s a new movement that’s come through America called Seeker Sensitive – in other words we want people who come into our church to feel comfortable. And we want to be sensitive to their needs. So we won’t say anything too outrageous and we’ll tone the whole thing down.”

But tough rules – often about sex – are waiting to be enforced. “Painted into a corner, they’re explicitly homophobic, but up to that point they don’t want to be seen as an unfriendly, judgmental place. They want to be seen as warm, inclusive, loving, embracing. But they’re not. They are of their own kind: if you’re in the system and you behave accordingly, the system will reward you.”

Levin thought that with so many casualties of the system around, writing the book would be easy. “What I found – and what other media have found – is that it’s almost impossible to get other people to come forward and talk about this. People will write things on websites, they will send emails: ‘I’ve been through this, I’ve done this, I can help you, I know these things, I am the voice of expertise.’ Then they disappear again because it’s too painful and it’s too confrontational.”

Hillsong won’t comment on the result.

“We have no control over what people decide to say and write,” Brian Houston says. “We keep our focus on helping people with hope in Jesus Christ.”

But Levin has a fair idea what they’re thinking out in the Hills. “Bobbie Houston announced at the Colour Your World conference in 2005 that there the only three types of media about Hillsong. They are the positive, the neutral and the anti-Christ.”

Levin doesn’t fit that picture. She doesn’t hate. Something in her seems to yearn for those exhilarating years fighting the good fight against the devil in all his disguises right down to the voodoo beat of rock’n’roll. “We were told you can’t have it because it’s incantation and you’re going to raise all these demons.” How different things are now. Levin begins to sing some Hillsong Christian trance music: “Doof, doof, doof. Christ is the future. Doof doof doof …”

Is she entirely free of the place? If Houston rang today and asked her to dinner, would she go?

“Yes, very much so. My main aim is to keep the dialogue open. To encourage questions. To encourage debate. And when somebody or a group of people make you feel like family for a number of years, it’s difficult to shake that feeling even when reality tells you something different, and when relationships break down. Go do dinner with Brian?” She laughs. “It would be nice.”

 

A fallen leader of faith

FRANK HOUSTON was a charismatic preacher and a sick man. He won famous souls for Hillsong – jockey Darren Beadman was one of his scalps – and sexually abused young men.

He was about 60 when he undertook to cure 23-year-old Peter Laughton’s homosexuality. “My counselling sessions by the senior minister were nothing more than sexual abuse disguised in the form of the need of a father’s love and discipline,” Laughton says. “Through my naivety, I endured the naked beatings, the eternal bum caresses and masturbating into bottles, among other things.”

Laughton was training to be a pastor. He says the abuse continued for about four years until 1984. “I look at it now and think, ‘God, I was really naive to fall for that.’ ” And believing himself cured, he married.

Laughton’s faith went first. He tells the Herald that before leaving the church in the early 1990s he gave an account to another pastor of the abusive therapy he’d received. But as far as Laughton is aware, no action was taken against the old man until he was forced into retirement by his son Brian after an allegation of pedophilia emerged in about 2000.

Houston denies categorically knowing of any claims of sexual abuse by his father before this time. He initiated a church investigation, which saw the old preacher’s credentials permanently removed. “I was completely devastated by the realisation that my father had hurt people in this way, and I believed it related to events more than 30 years before when he was a New Zealand credentialled pastor. Until recently I knew nothing of Peter’s claims.”

Laughton took a long time to come to grips with his sexuality. He’s now a university lecturer in his early 50s who finds it in himself to forgive Frank Houston. “Despite all his downfallings I think he was genuinely a good person. It is an important part but it still is only one aspect of a person’s life. I’ve come through the other side and appreciated how this man was trapped like many of us were in a system and in a place where you couldn’t really even talk about what you were struggling with.”

Burying his father in 2004, Houston declared him a man who made mistakes but a preacher “in a class of his own”.

David Marr

People in Glass Houses (Black Inc, $29.95) by Tanya Levin was published this week. edit: 4 August 2007.

David Marr has also published with Black Inc.

 

My comments:

From 1981 to 1990 I was involved at Christian Life Centre, Darlinghurst, which is now called Hillsong Church.

Frank Houston was the head pastor and the founder of Hillsong Church in 1977.

He came over from New Zealand, in the guise of church planting, but he was really a crafty old pedophile who felt the noose tightening on his pedophilia activities which he’d been doing for decades in New Zealand, while at the same time being a very prominent AOG pastor.

Frank Houston is a devil, a son of lucifer of old, who preyed on and molested little boys, teens and older men all his life.

 

On this site you’ll find over 100 articles on Frank Houston, his pedophilia, his very corrupt son Brian Houston, Hillsong Church, the Australian Christian Churches which was until 2009 called the Australian Assemblies of God (AOG), the New Zealand Assemblies of God and errant Pentecostal pastors in Australia and New Zealand.

For a summary of Frank Houston’s pedophile history please read my article on this site, ‘Pastor Frank Houston, Part one. Frank Houston’s pedophile activities’, published on 9 September 2012.

 

Peter Laughton was the young Worship Pastor at Christian Life Centre, Darlinghurst in the early 1980s.

There is no way possible anyone at Christian Life Centre, Darlinghurst could have known what Frank Houston and Peter Laughton were up to. I’d heard allegations of Frank Houston’s pedophilia back in New Zealand and I always had a half-eye on him in this respect but you’d never have picked it

Trevor King was the Music Director.

In 1981 Brian Houston wasn’t a pastor. He was extremely ambitious and very pushy. He wanted to go places and make it big. Its a pity he didn’t get born again properly, receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, deal with his lust for money and power, get deliverance and get a godly foundation in his life of truth, honesty and good morals before he set out to conquer the world for his Jesus.

 

Brian Houston’s Jesus is no closer to the Lord Jesus Christ of the New Testament than some statue of the black Jesus in Southern Italy with its holy red heart open to mankind.

 

black Jesus 11 black Jesus 10 black Jesus 9 black Jesus 8 black Jesus 7 black Jesus 6 black Jesus 5 black Jesus 4 black Jesus 3 black Jesus 2 black Jesus

 

Let’s hear from the great man himself

 

Thank you Donald Elley of Bellingen, my old builder pal from Darlinghurst days and now my greatest holy heretic.

Donald Elley of Bellingen: “Welcome to my blog site again Your Most Holy Parsonage”. Saint Copulator II: “Thank you Donald Elley of Bellingen, my old holy comrade from Darlinghurst days and now my greatest most holy heretic”. Donald Elley of Bellingen: “Your Eminence, have you read my article about Peter Laughton and the eternal bum caresses?” Saint Copulator II: “Hahaha..hahaha..you’re cracking me up Donald Elley of Bellingen..haha..hell-ova-holy hyisssssteriacal half bred hares…hahaah”. Donald Elley of Bellingen: “What’s so funny? Share the joke”. Saint Copulator II: “Hahaha…holy haha..I just can’t believe Peter Laughton fell for dad’s old tricks”. Donald Elley of Bellingen: “Do you mean you knew your father holy saint Francis was like that?” Saint Copulator: “Eternal bum caresses. How did Peter Laughton think that was going to heal him and make him feel like he had a dad..haha..holy haha”. Donald Elley of Bellingen: “But this is a serious subject. Peter Laughton felt abused”. Saint Copulator II: “Bobby Bobby fair eternal virgin of the night. Where is my black Jesus that I bought in Positano?”. Bobby: “In your private chapel along with the pictures of your blessed father saint francis, your mother Hazel dear and the myriad golden candles burning 24/7″. Saint Copulator II: “How’d you feel about trying what Peter Laughton and dad were doing”. Bobby: “Bugger off Brian…I’ve had enough of your black Jesuses, your golden candlesticks and your kinky fetishes”.

Ebenezer Scrooge 2

The Hillsong Brand

 

“Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You’re poor enough.”

Ebenezer Scrooge

A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens.

 

brian houston117e_scrooge

Brian Houston. The Ebenezer Scrooge of Christendom.

 

I’ve been contacted by a high up Hillsong insider who believes that Hillsong has gone off the rails and wants to tell their story.

This article is the 26th in a series of articles publishing the eye-witness testimonies of this Hillsong insider.

 

Hillsong Insider speaks:

“Dear Donald

Just for Christmas and straight from my diary to you here’s a good story.

25 December 2006. Christmas Day

A mother and her children were outside Hillsong City Church asking for food and money to help out on Christmas Day.

They came into church and after attending the service the mother looked a little bit drunk.

She was with her two children.

She was asking for food and some stuff to help her out on Christmas Day as she looked quite poor.

Pastor Jason Wessels and Pastor Steve McGhie, on a hot sunny day Christmas Day, asked her and her children to leave. They had done nothing wrong except for asking for food and and some gifts for the kids to help around on Christmas Day as she was quite poor and obviously had had a drink.

But it is Christmas Day.

Pastor Jason Wessels and Pastor Steve McGhie asked her promptly to leave. They said, “We have nothing for you or your type”…”We aren’t set up to help you”. So they sent her and her children off and had her leave.

There is a lack of care, love and relief at Hillsong Church on Christmas Day.

Where is the love?

Now once again Pastor Steve McGhie and the so-called pastoral care of Hillsong Church has showed a total lack of love and compassion to a poor needy mother and her children on Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas mate I hope you enjoy this one.

I never can never forget this one in 2006″.

 

brian houston117a_scrooge-1

Steve McGhie. Another Frank believer and protector. Brian's goof-ball bro-in-law

“Pastor” Steve McGhie. The Mister Magoo of Hillsong.

 

Steve McGhie. A dangerous man. The Christian Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Blessed Body of Christ, should be protected from the Steve McGhies of this world.

Steve McGhie. A dangerous man. The Christian Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Blessed Body of Christ, should be protected from the Steve McGhies of this world.

 

"Pastor" Steve McGhie. Always strutting about at Hillsong City Church. "pastor" Brian Houston's brother-in-law.

“Pastor” Steve McGhie. Always strutting about at Hillsong City Church causing trouble. “Pastor” Brian Houston’s brother-in-law.

 

Ebenezer Scrooge 1Ebenezer Scrooge 3Ebenezer Scrooge 5 Ebenezer Scrooge 4brian houston117f_scroogehillsong b1