What could possibly go wrong?
Amidst the recent debacle surrounding IHOP and Mike Bickle another sad story has managed to sneak under the radar. It appears the disgraced Brian Houston is now intending on opening a new church. As absurd as that notion should be to anyone with a sliver of discernment, the NAR Apostate Church Industrial Complex is lining up to praise and endorse the efforts. This is to be expected considering the fact that the complex protects the brand at all costs and Houston is a proven money maker of epic proportions. Do not lose the back story in the weeds like we see at IHOP. The defenders of heresy only try to refute the recent problems to avoid the twitchy subject of the grander picture. If none of the multiple women ever came forward to credibly accuse Mike Bickle of sexual and spiritual abuse, he still would be one of the worst heretics of our lifetime. IHOP theology still remains one of the worst cesspools of rotten theology. One of the few organizations that surpasses IHOP however is Hillsong. Brian Houston built his empire on the child sex abuse of his father, created a 100-million-dollar cabal based largely on poor worship music and the prosperity gospel. Houston even once famously wrote a book called "You Need More Money." Then there are the multiple issues through the years at Hillsong sites, all of which had Houston as the lead pastor. NYC Hillsong saw the grievous Carl Lentz drama where the pastor to the celebrities lured his children's babysitter into his wife's bed for multiple years, as well as other marital affairs. There was a similar issue at a New Jersey Hillsong. There was the Youth Pastor of NYC "dressing up" as the naked cowboy for a women's ministry conference. There was the sleazy silent night from Australia and the secular club hit "I Like to Move It, Move It" performed in worship at Hillsong London. These are only microcosms of a ridiculously carnal church system led by Houston for decades, propped up by their music industry that produces largely theologically unsound worship music. So let us reason once more through the above announcement from Charisma News, one of the most ardent Houston supporters. Note throughout the emphasis is always what is fair or best for Houston and not his victims, another parallel to the Bicklegate controversy.
"In a recent announcement on X (formerly known as Twitter), Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston, 69, revealed his plans to launch a new weekly online ministry and church in 2024. Houston, along with his wife Bobbie, expressed excitement about building a new community through this venture. The news comes almost two years after Houston resigned as global senior pastor of the Hillsong megachurch network, following allegations of misconduct by two women. The criminal charges against him, related to concealing sex abuse committed by his father, were dropped in August 2022. In January 2022, Houston stepped down from his role at the church's helm for the entire year. He maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings, and the court ultimately found him not guilty." - Charisma News
What Charisma News does here is mix two different disqualifying stories together to avoid dealing with the one he actually stepped down for. While all the attention is paid to the sins of his father and what Brian knew, the real story is the allegations from two different women. Let us first deal with the Frank Houston case, where his son Brian was accused of not reporting the serious sexual abuse of congregant children, by his dad. The finding from the court was not that Houston was innocent of not reporting it but that he had a reasonable reason for not reporting it to authorities. That reason? Brian insisted that the victim did not want it reported. The problem is that the victim categorically denies this, but the larger spiritual question is if that is a truly good enough reason anyway? Not to mention that there ended up being a plethora of other victims. I am willing to table that because it was adjudicated and for whatever reason, he was acquitted.
The real reason he stepped down was after an internal investigation into two complaints from women were found to be disturbing enough to warrant his removal. The first was portrayed as a decade ago, as if that matters. We see a similar tactic used in the Bicklegate scandal. How long ago a Christian pastor was abusive is irrelevant to the abuse. The first complaint apparently involved a series of "inappropriate texts" from the married Houston to a female staffer who subsequently resigned after complaining to the Hillsong General Manager. Houston admitted to personally paying off this complainant at the time several month's salary. You know, like Jesus never did. Houston blamed this on taking too many sleeping pills, which he admitted he had an addiction to. Hillsong management insisted that Houston received treatment to resolve the addiction issue. So, making sexual passes at a woman while married and having a personal addiction to sleeping pills is apparently not grounds for pastoral removal at Hillsong. The second event was in 2019 after a conference where the Hillsong Pastor was apparently drinking while overdosing on anti-anxiety medication. He went into a female person's hotel room for forty minutes and no one really knows what happened, but leadership determined it was inappropriate enough and that the women should not have been placed in whatever the situation was by Houston. Brian agreed to take three months off and abstain from alcohol, which he proceeded to not do. Because Charisma muddied the two issues, you may mistakenly believe Houston has maintained his innocence regarding these allegations, but he has not. That was related to the covering up of his father's sins. So, we have the pastor of a multi-million-dollar church who has apparently had issues with alcohol, substance abuse and marital infidelity for over a decade allowed to continue to pretend he was a minister and now we are welcoming him opening a new church? Wow.
"In a separate incident, Houston was arrested in February 2022 for driving under the influence of alcohol. He initially pled not guilty but later reversed his plea. The court sentenced him to three years probation, a $140 fine and other penalties. Despite these setbacks, Houston remains committed to starting a new chapter in his ministry. The details of the new online ministry and church are yet to be revealed. Meanwhile, Houston's daughter, Laura Toganivalu, and her husband, Peter, who resigned from their roles at Hillsong Young & Free earlier this year, have also announced the launch of a new church." - Charisma News