Hillsong, the Australian-based religious conglomerate, operates in 28 countries with more than 150,000 weekly attendees. It is now in the midst an explosive scandal. Founder, Brian Houston, faces charges in an Australian court of covering up the pedophilia of his late father, Frank. One of Frank’s victims, aged seven at the time, says the sexual abuse happened around 1970 and that his son, Brian Houston, knew about it and covered it up. The victim further alleges that he was “raped, choked, and brutalized.” It is also claimed that Frank, and later his son Brian, tried to buy off the victim with $10,000 in Australian dollars. Brian says the victim insisted, years ago, that the abuse not be made public. A criminal sentence could put the powerful pastor behind bars for five years.
Hillsong, as we know it today, grew out of Frank Houston’s megachurch in the 80s. At the time the elder Houston was also head of the Australian division of the Assemblies of God denomination. All this comes after Hillsong had to oust celebrity-obsessed pastor Carl Lentz from its New York City congregation after Lentz admitted to adultery. In Dallas, Hillsong had to close a church due to the pastor’s “failure to uphold the standards of Hillsong leadership.” In New Jersey, another Hillsong pastor resigned after texting a photo of himself to a church volunteer while wearing white exercise tights with nothing left to the imagination. Some say that this and other Hillsong scandals are endemic to the church culture of Hillsong.
Perhaps the whole truth isn’t known, and we must be careful about judgments without knowing all the facts, especially when the case against Brian Houston has yet to go to court. But some things we do know. Outlandishly extravagant lifestyles of Houston and other church leaders have been documented, based on the Hillsong’s prosperity gospel message. And more bombs of indiscretions may yet explode. But my concern is what’s going to be done about all of this. One thing is certain, deliverance and exorcism isn’t an option.
Brian Houston and Hillsong adamantly oppose the idea of Christians having demons and suffering from generational curses. On my last ministry tour of Australia, the word went out, I was told from the top-down, that no one in Hillsong leadership would be allowed to cooperate with or attend our meetings. But it’s now clear that, whatever the final truth about all this may be, there is a demonic problem at Hillsong, especially with the late Frank Houston. As an exorcist I can tell you, child molestation is demonic. Almost all perpetrators are demon possessed. Frank Houston needed an exorcism, but his theology kept him from it. And this curse may have passed on to Brian Houston. And if he doesn’t believe in curse breaking and deliverance, how will he and Hillsong get free from the curse?
I’m not saying that pastor Houston is like his father, but that the demons of his father are likely trying to destroy the good work that Hillsong has done to reach people for Christ. I may not agree with all that Hillsong does, but as the Apostle Paul commanded in Philippians 1:15-18, I praise God where Christ is preached. We must fervently pray for Hillsong during this trying time. Pray that those in the organization who sincerely follow Christ will be granted grace and patience for His will to be worked out. And pray that the leadership of this megachurch will wake up to the need of embracing deliverance and casting demons out of those in power who may be possessed.