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about


I spend my days doing stuff for Soul Survivor NZ and my church "Blueprint" in Wellington NZ. I am perplexed, amazed, in awe of, and spend a lot of time thinking about this revolutionary called Jesus and what it means to follow Him.

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I'm at church right now

At hillsong church in Sydney at this very moment.

That is all I am saying

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“I'm at church right now”

  1. Blogger Lisa Says:

    Very cool!!!!

  2. Blogger Stu Says:

    get out now. get out before it's too late. run. run.

    (but if you do happen to get prosperity then remember who your friends are) . . . buddy.

  3. Blogger Debs Says:

    Don't start children, dont start.

    "Log in own eye", "judge not", "neighbour as your self" and all that business remember.

  4. Blogger David Says:

    Why?

  5. Blogger Stu Says:

    hey debs,

    ah yes but what about accountability? loving truth? teaching against false prophets? being wary of the pharisees yeast?

    and also,

    what if i have spent hours working out the log in my own eye and gain insight enough to critique?
    and judging . . . how else am i to grow or ensure i do not fall into a cult? should we not judge david koresh?
    neighbour as myself : yep. if i am wrong, i need correction . . . i need people judging and assessing else i become in danger of being an ego tripper. yep love me by embracing me, and let me love you by doing the same; love me by critiquing me, and let me love you by doing the same.
    iron sharpens iron.

    brian houstons book : "you need more money: discovering god's amazing financial plan for your life" is a frighteningly poor work of exegesis and a scary read if it represents one of the main leaders of the australian pentecostal scene.

    i'm prepared to stand by this.

    run harvey, run.

  6. Blogger Karl Says:

    The wonderful thing about being human is we never remove the log from our own eye do we? That goes with the territory of being a sinner doesn't it?

    Lets be honest- we love to "have a go" at the "Hillsongs" of the world, we feel good doing it, and saying it under the guise of critiquing can be (note: I said can be) a cop out.

    There is a difference between judging and discernment however.
    Do I have concerns about Hillsong?
    You better believe it!

    But if we are able to post comments on a blog, surely we are able to contact Hillsong and express our concerns (as scripture commands us to do), so that iron can indeed sharpen iron.

  7. Blogger Stu Says:

    "The wonderful thing about being human is we never remove the log from our own eye do we? That goes with the territory of being a sinner doesn't it?"

    karl, what do you make of redemption then (out of curiosity, not as a fireback, cos i'm actually interested in where this discussion might go!). surely redemption implies that we can indeed remove certain logs from our eyes . . .

  8. Blogger Debs Says:

    Yep guys I acknowledge the above to be largely true....

    Im a relatively new Christian in the scheme of things - i even had to look up 'redemption' in the dictionary. Amazing what we sing about at church without having any idea of what the words truely mean.

    So then if redemption means 'set free', then i guess we can remove certain logs from our eyes, and so does that mean that its us who puts the damn things in our eyes in the first place....and then choice comes into it...oh crap i dunno

    Sam, can you bring me back some duty free Vodka...thanks mate :)

  9. Blogger the ROCK says Says:

    I always wonder why people say that you shouldn't take shots at the things that you don't believe are right. Why not? I mean, I'm OK for people to take shots at me... oftem keeps me grounded and gives the reality check I need. Or it lets me know who are the nutty and/or clsed-minded people in my circle of friends...lol..:)

  10. Blogger Stu Says:

    good on ya debs . . . and i'm inspired by our last remark:

    SAM, get me some St Remy's Brandy while you're at it.

    (nice to see you again 'the rock', i'm still reading you and keeping tabs on you! you know i'll happily throw shots at you 'cos i know you'll throw em back!)

  11. Blogger Karl Says:

    Redemption for me is knowing that I have the lack of strength to remove "logs" from my own eye. It is a daily walk, struggle, crawl to try and let God take a little bit more of me away (or point the bits out)so that He can fit. I don't know about you all, but it has been a while since I have heard the redemption word talked about- it is refreshing.

  12. Blogger P-Style Says:

    With respect to juding, the text says Judge not, lest you be judged. i.e. judge with the standard that you judge yourself.

    I've got no probelm with people applying an equal treatment to others that expect to be appleid to themselves. That's why the texct doesn't stop at "Don't Judge". Those who are sober of mind and open to criticism, are humble before their bretheren and willign to change have nthing to fear when they judge others by the same yardstick with whcih they exercise discretion.

  13. Anonymous Sam is Single Says:

    ahhh.... its funny... Sam didnt actually say anything, but yet... this post gets the most comments...

    I knew he was going to Hillsong, and I was waiting for just this post to happen...

    lol

    I have been to Hillsong many times, and a refuse to comment...

  14. Blogger P-Style Says:

    Sam-is-Single,

    I think the previous post was a bit of a pre-cursor to this discussion . . . I was waiting with baited breath too.

    daqrgwbo - Red and Green Daquiris with one of the brothers from the Dukes of Hazard

  15. Blogger Debs Says:

    "The same people who dismiss the Church as being old, empty, boring and irrelevant criticise it for being big, successful, young and relevant".

    Quote, hillsong website.

  16. Blogger Sam Says:

    I have hugely enjoyed reading the comments on this very small post. I dont think I will be writing a post on my experience at Hillsong because many others have articulated there concerns with far more eloquence than I could on blogs and the web. This comment will be it I think.

    I went with the most objective heart I could muster, desperately hoping my fears and concerns were unfounded. It was intresting to have the conversations and write the stuff I wrote on the saturday, and then go to this church on Sunday.
    To be honest, about half way though the service I was so hurting and gutted by what was happening that I could barely keep the tears back. I am still feeling gutted. There was a particular moment of beauty for me on a personal level where I lifted my hands in worship, and sang my heart out, in spite of my heavy heart and the confusion that I was working through at the time. Im glad that God doesnt change.

    The guys there appear to genuinely love Jesus, and are expressing church in a way that they believe is biblical, and this really confuses me. My fear is that so many of the young people there feel the preasure to conform to a very strong culture within the church and do not ask some of the big questions that I think are begging to be asked in that enviorment. And it concerns me how many churches look to Hillsong as a great model to emulate. But yes, im very aware of the log in my eye, in my church, and in Soul Survivor.

    Dunno, Im still processing that experience, dont want to further open a can of worms, but its a bit too early for me to put anything down with clarity, im still working out why I felt so unsettled, so disturbed.

    In the midst of all of this, I love what Stu wrote about "loving truth". I dont want to get into detail at this point about what made me feel this way at Hillsong.
    When I was a lot younger I didnt realise that you could be really honest about feeling that sort of thing and still be a Christian, so I was the first to go along with the crowd, and to simply feel guilty about thinking thoughts of doubt, or for feeling unsettled about what was communicated verbally or through the culture.

    There was a lot there that unsettled me, and I wish that I didnt feel that stuff so strongly. Its painful... *sigh*

  17. Blogger P-Style Says:

    Debs,

    "The same people who dismiss the Church as being old, empty, boring and irrelevant criticise it for being big, successful, young and relevant".

    How do they know this? Did they do a study of all the people who cirticised Chrurches? No of course not. They're just making these "straw man" attacks to counter any possible legitimate criticism.

    Poeple are critical of Hillsongs because of the representaion of the Gospel that they present. Some of the TEACHING (not culture) that comes out of that place is borderline capitalism wrapped up in religious terminology.

    I'm sure there are wonderful people with good intentions at Hillsongs, but that doesn't mean they are beyond criticism. We must all be open to the rebuke of each other. Defending against our accusers by labelling them as Hillsonsg have done in that quote you found is neither helpful nor honest.

    Besides how can a "Chruch" be empty, if it is a coomunity? Hillsonsgs (perhaps unintentionally) give away sometihn gof their "Enterprise" mentality with statemenst that are striuctured like this. Where is the defence of love? Honesty? Truth? Justice? Compassion?

    Or would they rather defend "Size", "Success" Youthfulness"?

  18. Blogger the kyle Says:

    It's interesting to see how many people are so eager to let people hear "their issues" with big corporations, more or less, such as Hillsong, as if they see themselves as having something life changing or important to say.

    Why doesn't someone start a "Christian" version of the Rickey Lake show? Or a "Christian" version of Shortland Street? It might cater for the multitude of us that love bitching about other churches, most of the time with no positive alternative in mind to what they are criticising. I am no particular Hillsong supporter, but it's good to ask ourselves sometimes, what am I going to do about this problem I'm are so fired up about? It is very likely that God does great things through their so-called “heretical” services, as much as it is mass marketed. We are immoral human beings by nature and always will be, despite our receiving redemption, we'll always keep putting a new log in our eye, so to speak.

    If one is being controversial just for the sake of it, it is best to just keep your mouth shut, as it is just as ugly as the "emotionally charged thrivers" out there, or worse even. And controversy is nothing new in our day-in-age.

    Here’s a Bible chapter I like to ponder on when I find myself in this situation – 1 Corinthians 8 (especially verses 8-12). In the context of each church having different ways of worshiping their God.

  19. Blogger Lisa Says:

    I personally think that all churches have their good points and their bad points. I think that the thing with Hillsong is that it is easier for us to identify what they are because they are so big and well known.

    I think sometimes we join in the mob mentality without stopping to look at our own church communities long and hard enough first for example I know perfectly well that my church community does not reach out to the community that much at all and hillsong does some awesome work in that regard.

    This doesn't mean I have to agree with their prosperity doctrine though it just means I am recognising that I belong to a wider church body.

    We have to start remembering that we can either build up or pull down. We are all in this kingdom together. The world is watching. We are body, when some part of it is sick you do something about it, you can't go and make a seperate body ! Hillsong is part of us just like we are part of them. Sure they do things different, hey they may even do somethings wrong ( so might your church) so how are we going to remedy it?

  20. Blogger Sam Says:

    3 comments the Kyle... firstly most of the people commenting on this are busting there guts on "positive alternatives", Stu for one has given up more than you could imagine for what he is doing, there is enormous integrity behind his words and those that share his sentiment.
    Secondly, in regards to the Corinthians passage; what if keeping silent is the sin that winds up hurting my brother? We are not talking about a periphal issues here. Why are we so afraid to challenge instutions and systems because they have "church" attached to the label? If these discussions (of which the epistles are filled with, the corinthians passage that refer to is one) are done with a genuine heart to discover truth and in a spirit of love, then we should be encouraging these yarns, not being afraid of them? There seems to be an enormous fear of honesty amongst young christians today, and those sorts of comments do nothing to bring the freedom to people to voice there concerns or questions, no matter instution we are talking about. Most of these comments and thoughts are not coming from a place of delight in picking on a big church, its coming from a place of longing that church more truly reflect the beauty that lies within it, and reflect the practice of the person of Jesus.
    And lastly, the issue is not about style. My issue with Hillsong lies in its theology and its outworking in practice. (There I said it).

    Lis, I believe that part of the reason that Hillsong comes under greater scrutiny is because it has a greater influence. Most of the "big" churches in NZ imitate what they see at that particular church, and this influence is global, a survey (that my dad has lost... sorry) found that 80% or pastors want there church to be like Hillsong. That scares me. Therefore I would argue it is very important that we ask the big questions, learn where we can from them, but also not be afraid to disagree with stuff that we feel is fundamentaly contrary to what we understand it to mean to follow Jesus and be His church. These conversations very much "build up" in my experience.

    And if you wonder if I get hit up with the same level of critique. You bet, there are some days where I get sat down and people do nothing but hit me up about stuff in my life. Is it hard to be on the recieving end? You bet, but I am eternally grateful that these people love me enough to challenge me on this stuff, and I am better off for it. I can not overstate this point. For too long we have confused politeness with discipleship.

    Here endith rant,I prefer chatting in person, I get flippin frustrated with how limited a blog comment is in communicating points.

  21. Blogger the kyle Says:

    I realise this discussion has gone on long enough but I feel I need to clarify just a few things.

    "If these discussions (of which the epistles are filled with, the corinthians passage that refer to is one) are done with a genuine heart to discover truth and in a spirit of love, then we should be encouraging these yarns, not being afraid of them?"

    Yes I believe that challenging brothers and sisters with the spirit of love is important. But maybe this so called "criticism out of LOVE and CONCERN" gets a little distorted and detached from it's honest meaning when it is directed at a certain culture or congregation, especially when we are not a part of it. I've heard many Christians making snarky comments about other Christians and feeling fine about it. Is this love? I think it's leaning more towards gossip and self-righteousness.

    Sarcasm and mockery screams out condescension e.g. "get out now. get out before it's too late. run. run." I'm sorry but to me this implies that there is a danger of Sam contaminating some kind of "disease" by being with these people. I'm not really seeing any sign of "love and concern" in this kind of remark... No matter how much sacrifice ourselves through "good works" it never gives us the license to look down on others. (I realise Stu's comment was said out of humour, but I've heard a lot of people talk like this of other churches, with true disgust, and so I decided to voice my concern, it was not at all meant to come across as a personal attack on Stu.)

    Here's something I agree with:

    "if we are able to post comments on a blog, surely we are able to contact Hillsong and express our concerns (as scripture commands us to do), so that iron can indeed sharpen iron."

    This, as I understand, would be a better model of one's "love and concern" for the people. While I'm sure that Hillsong is not going to be effected by anything we may say on this blog, since the whole notion of "criticising out of love and concern" was raised, I felt that possibly it wouldn't hurt to challenge the integrity behind what was being said. My aim was never meant as be a judgement of anyone but simply to raise another point, and maybe to try and create balance to the argument.

  22. Blogger Andy Says:

    Elliot T. put me onto this link, Sam. I had mixed opinions when I visited Hillsong in London recently. I've now been to Hillsong three times. I have a long list of complaints about it, chief of which is a packaged Christianity that doesn't allow for dissenting opinions (something which is extremely Jewish; talk to any Jew about that!).

    I've also enjoyed reading the comments here. There's always a lot of voices discussing what it means to be a Christian and live in the Kingdom of God. I just hope that people seriously consider these matters and how it ought to work itself out in their community, in their politics and daily living.

    Criticism is important, and so is conversation. I welcome discussions on Hillsong, emerging church, orthodoxy and fundamentalism. When people get together and discuss these topics without behaving childish there are often many benefits. I have friends who go to Hillsong and I have friends who are staunch modernists (agnostics and atheists too for that matter). Ideology doesn't get in the way of me being their friends, and I value their opinions.

    Keep on blogging!