Important please make sure you read Hillsong’s defense against the allegations made by news.com.au,
Following quote taken from:
by Adele Ferguson.
The New Zealand-born Houston, pastor of the biggest Pentecostal church, Hillsong, is one of the main proponents of prosperity theology. The author of ‘You Need More Money: Discovering God’s Amazing Financial Plan for Your Life’, Houston writes: “Prosperity is definitely a result of applying God’s word to your life.” In section two of the book, he adds: “It’s God’s will for you to prosper.”
Whatever the case, the popularity of Pentecostal religion is unquestionable. Pastor Ashley Evans from Paradise Community Church says: “We are scratching where people are itching.” That itch has a lot to do with the way Australians are feeling.
They do this by selling a message that is easy to buy: that Pentecostalism is about enjoying life now. In other words, if you embrace this brand of God, you will be rewarded financially and spiritually in this life, as well as the next. It is much easier to think that wealth and worldly success are signs of God’s favour than to wait for happiness in the afterlife, as most traditional religions preach. Ruth Powell, a manager at NCLS Research. (emphasis mine)
Now for Rick Warren – who is at this very moment attending the Hillsong Conference 2006 – has been quoted saying on the 4th of July 2006:
THERE is nothing wrong with being Christian and rich, says the Californian preacher Rick Warren, just so long as you give most of your wealth away. “I don’t think it is a sin to be rich, it’s a sin to die rich,” he told the Herald earlier. “I want people to make as much money as they can as long as they give it away as much as they can.” @Sydney Morning Herald
How Hillsong is aquiring its money is a question to be asked is it not? There does seem to be questionable use of government funds which would be only a small amount compared to much of the generated income for such a mega-church known for its music on a world wide scale.
According to news.com.au Hillsong is using Government grants which was supposed to go towards helping the indigenous people but instead has salaried staff with only a small amount of the grant being used for its intended purpose. Now I am not saying that Hillsong is reaping all of its money from Government funds, far from it, that is another post all together. I am just pointing to an undercurrent that has been in the news of late, here it is:
Hillsong Emerge also recently parted ways with two larger federal grants for indigenous business development, in one case because Indigenous Business Australia discontinued it, and in another because Hillsong made a late decision not to reapply for funding.
Hillsong Emerge has threatened to sue Mr West over a column he wrote for a NSW union website, Workers Online, in which he canvassed some of the allegations he had raised in parliament.
He also mentioned the Government’s revelation that Hillsong Emerge had spent $315,000 in federal funds to cover the salaries of seven of its staff, who in one year provided only six loans to Aborigines worth an average of $2856 each. @news.com.au 29th April 2006.
***Update – Please see this link for Hillsong’s media release concerning these allegations. ***
Yes, the government is involved and some of our politicians are seeing red flags. The interesting thing is one of our leading politicians while pushing for parties votes during an election campaign was seen at Hillsong and singing their praises. His brother Rev Tim Costello however, had this to say about Brian Houston the Hillsong Church leader :
“I was a critic of Brian Houston’s book You Need More Money – God’s Financial Plan For Your Life. It was a ‘Jesus Gets You Rich Book’,” said Mr Costello. But other books by Mr Houston – such as God Has Set You Right and Positioned To Win – remain on sale. They show how material wealth in this world is not a bar to entering heaven. (emphasis mine) @theage.com
Politics and Religion do not mix and now since the red flag is up and waving Hillsong is avoiding the politicians like the plague during this years conference where Rick Warren is a special invited guest:
TODAY’S opening of the annual convention of Sydney’s largest evangelical congregation is to be a politician-free zone. A rollcall of five federal ministers, eight Liberal backbenchers, two Nationals Senate leaders and the then NSW premier turned up to the high-energy religious gathering last year.
But amid disquiet about the political influence of the Christian right, the senior pastor of Hillsong Church, Brian Houston, has not renewed the invitations.The church has come under intense parliamentary scrutiny, particularly from federal and NSW Labor for its use of federal grants for indigenous business start-ups and crime prevention.
Hillsong insists all its projects have been run successfully and with probity, but it lost a large federal grant amid the controversy.
The professor of sociology at Monash University, Gary Bouma, said Hillsong appeared to be treading more carefully in the ways it sought to influence society. “I think both politicians and Hillsong have been a little burned by being too close together.”@Sydney Morning Herald 3rd July 2006
Hmmmm….. Birds of a feather…..
Here is the web-site for the Hillsong Conference 2006