Cameron Buettel: Hillsong


September 13, 2014

Hillsong_Church_New Cameron is a seminary student at the Master's Seminary in the greater Los Angeles area. He also works at Grace to You, the media ministry of pastor John MacArthur. Cameron has a blog called “The Bottom Line“, and he also has a website at onceuponacross.com. It was on that blog that Cameron published years worth of correspondence and critique of Hillsong, which is a mega church movement and franchise based in Sydney, Australia. Cameron joins me to discuss Hillsong.

Play

An Outline of the Discussion
  • Cameron began his Christian life in an Assemblies of God church in Australia in the early 1990s.
  • Hillsong began about the same time, and gained popularity because of their music. Just a few years later, the Assemblies of God amalgamated into a denomination called the Australian Churches of God, a conglomeration of Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. It was headed by Brian Houston, the pastor of Hillsong church. The definint traits of charismatic churches (tongues speaking, etc.) was pushed to the periphery, and positive thinking began to be pushed much more. They also had a greater focus on marketing, and grew in popularity with their conferences.
  • Cameron began to notice their failure to talk about key aspects of the gospel, particularly sin and repentance. He began to write to them to question the message they were preaching, and seemed to get nowhere.
  • Eventually, Cameron received a reply from Robert Fergusson. The correspondence they had is posted at Cameron's blog.
  • An example of Hillsong deleting sin and repentance from their preaching and materials is their deletion of “turn from their wicked ways” from a quotation of 2 Chronicles 7:14 found on the CD cover of their album “Hillsong Live – Mighty To Save”
  • Cameron wants people to know about the problems with the gospel that Hillsong preaches especially because they have a number of churches found all over the world.
  • Even Hillsong's good songs leave huge gaps in a person's understanding of the gospel.
  • Hillsong has such a strong focus on marketing that they will have just about any big name out to speak at their conferences. Past speakers include: Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, TD Jakes, Bill Johnson, and Steven Furtick. It appears that the only common thread is a big name. The leadership of Hillsong is very pragmatic.
  • A strong-sounding statement of faith can be a trojan horse to bring in bad doctrine. This is the greatest danger that Cameron worries about in regard to Hillsong.
  • A couple of listener questions: Cameron's analysis of this video, and what would Cameron suggest people who attend a Hillsong church (or similar) do, in light of God's word. Also, what does think of some of Hillsong's better songs?
Scriptures Referenced
  • 2 Chronicles 7:14
  • Titus 1:9
  • Romans 16:17
  • Galatians 1:8-9
Additional Resources

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