Brian Houston is the senior pastor of the Australian mega-church Hillsong, and the National President of the Assemblies of God in Australia. His Hillsong Conferences attract now something in excess of 25,000 people annually – many of them church leaders from around Australia and the world. Its probably way more than 25,000 by now. The music of Hillsong is extremely popular worldwide and sung by Christians everywhere. And now, Brian Houston has been praising the papacy as an institution "which is marked by a commitment to seeing the Christian message continue to go forward and people changed by the power and truth of the Gospel"
Thousands of churches seek to emulate the methods, principles and "spirit" of Hillsong in order to be like them and get the same kind of results that they do. So when Brian Houston gives a press release, we should take notice. Brian Houston is a very important and influential person in the Body of Christ, and we can't simply ignore his statements as being representative of a lunatic fringe.
Brian Houston believes that people should follow his leadership and submit to the authority of the denomination he leads. But where exactly is he leading people, in terms of their understanding of what the gospel of Jesus Christ actually is?
Hear what Brian Houston had to say in a Press Release shortly after the election of the new Pope, Benedict:
PRAYING FOR NEWLY ELECTED POPE
National President of the Assemblies of God in Australia, Brian Houston, has congratulated the election of Pope Benedict XVI as the leader of the world’s Catholics.
Pastor Houston said the shoes of the charismatic and endearing Pope John Paul II, who taught the world so much through his life and his subsequent suffering, would be difficult to fill.
"Pope John Paul II left an indelible mark on the world, and we pray for Pope Benedict as he takes on the leadership mantle of the Catholic Church and navigates the challenges and opportunities facing the global Church in the 21st century,” Ps Houston said.
"It is important for all of us to honour and pray for anyone in a position of leadership and authority. Pope Benedict XVI is a spiritual and experienced leader and is now head over a significant portion of the Christian community, so we will pray for wisdom in his immensely influential role,” he said.
"We pray too that this papacy, like those before it, is marked by a commitment to seeing the Christian message continue to go forward and people changed by the power and truth of the Gospel.
"Obviously, as Protestants, our views are considerably different to the Pope’s on a number of issues however, we share a common desire to exalt Christ and serve our community to the best of our ability."
Please take a look here at this PDF copy of the original press release document.
Now Brian Houston is stating that past papacies have been "marked by a commitment to seeing the Christian message continue to go forward and people changed by the power and truth of the Gospel"! Is this just flattery, or does Houston really believe this? If he believes it, then he is saying that what the Roman Catholics and the Papacy in particular have been serving is in fact THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. Perhaps Brian Houston should be asked what he believes the gospel to in fact be, and whether in fact Roman Catholic popes have been preaching it.
I am not sure that the popes would be willing to return the favour and tell Brian Houston that they applaud his commitment to the going forward of the gospel. Because the popes have declared that there is no salvation outside of the Roman Catholic church, especially for schismatics and heretics.
Were all the reformers – Martin Luther, John Knox, the Puritans, Wesley and so forth, who saw the Roman Catholic Church as being the apostate harlot of the Book of Revelation – were they all wrong and is Houston right?
Is Houston saying that the way of salvation as taught by the Roman Catholic church is the "life changing Gospel"? If he is not, then why does it sound like he is?
Brian Houston teaches a lot about INFLUENCE and I think it is fair to say that he, like the Roman Catholic Church, strives to get as much as it as he can. if you go to a Hillsong Conference, you will hear lots of contradictory views what is and is not necessary in order to be accepted of God, and concerning the ways that God wants to build his church, but one thing all the speakers have in common is that they are people of INFLUENCE, who have large audiences. It would seem that what they BELIEVE is of secondary importance. Its what they can do that counts. I guess the Roman Catholic church has had LOTS of influence over the centuries, too. But that DOESN'T MAKE IT RIGHT. The devil has had a lot of influence too, it doesn't mean I am going to praise the devil. Dear friends, before you criticise what I am writing here, please go and do some research, and find out what the Roman Catholic Church teaches that you must do in order to be saved from sin and enter the Kingdom of God. Report back to me your findings, and then tell me that you think its cool for the leader of the largest pentecostal denomination in Australia to say things like this.
I hate to say it, but I think we are going to come to a parting of the ways. Those who RECEIVE NOT THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH are DEFINITELY GOING TO BE DECEIVED and ultimately PERISH. It won't matter then how much influence you had on the earth. You will sincerely wish you had LESS INFLUENCE on that Day if you don't receive the love of the truth NOW. Because it is a terrible thing to lead people astray, by word or deed.