The founder of Hillsong, who has recently been charged with allegedly concealing his father’s abuse of other children, has been preaching in America about how the Devil tries to kill church unity and destroy people’s zeal for the gospel.
Preaching at James River Church in Missouri, Brian Houston spoke about how Satan "steals, kills and destroys" the good things in life, such as church unity, joy, zeal and generosity.
He suggested that he will not grow weary but will hold on to his faith in every circumstance.
He didn't reference the charges at all.
The founder of the international megachurch Hillsong was charged last week with allegedly concealing his father's abuse of another boy in the 1970s. Many have questioned why he was allowed to leave the country to preach in the US just days before the charge was announced.
Brian Houston's father, Frank Houston who died in 2004, committed abuse towards a boy prior to 1977 in New Zealand. New South Wales Police claim that Brian Houston knew about the abuse and failed to inform the authorities, they say: "Police will allege in court the man knew information relating to the sexual abuse of a young male in the 1970s and failed to bring that information to the attention of police."
Houston has always said that he removed his father from any church role once he found out, as an adult, but did not tell the police because the victim did not want him to.
While travelling between churches in the last week, he told one Australian news outlet that he was “obviously devastated” by the charge.
When preaching this sermon in Springfield, Houston mentioned that he does not have many gifts but that he does believe God called him to build a church:
“I know the one thing God called me to do – and that’s to lead and build a church. I don’t have to be good at a whole load of other things. I’ve just got to be good at what God called me to do," he said, while making a wider point about focusing on your own gifts rather than being jealous of other people’s.
At one point, when telling an anecdote referencing his sons’ grandfather, he clarified that it was “on their mother’s side” and not Frank Houston.
He encouraged the congregation not to lose their zeal for the gospel, saying: “I'm not old, but I'm growing old. But it is my decision whether I grow weary and weary is not just tired, weary is on a different level than that and so zeal…what a powerful quality.”
Expanding on a poem for Anzac day he said: “Age is not going to weary me. Life can be…it can take its toll. There’s challenges in life, it can take its toll, but I want to be filled with zeal. I still want to have a Pentecostal two-step when I’m 112!...Don’t let the Devil steal your zeal.”
He added that Satan wants to undermine Christians’ confidence and ruin their faith but urged people there not to let that happen.
“When life’s going for me, I want to hold on to my faith, when life’s going against me, I want to hold on to my faith”.
Houston is expected to appear in Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on Tuesday 5th October 2021.
Hillsong Church released a statement on 23rd July stating that he only found out about his father's abuse when he was 45 years old, 30 years after the crime: "Upon being told of his father’s actions, Brian Houston confronted his father, reported the matter to the National Executive Assemblies of God in Australia, relayed the matter to the governing board of Sydney Christian Life Centre, and subsequently made a public announcement to the church. Brian sought to honor the victim’s multiple requests not to inform the police."