PODCAST: Hillsong Pastor Brian Houston Has Resigned (International Christian Herald 03.23.22)

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According to the Washington Post, The leader and co-founder of Australian megachurch Hillsong Brian Houston has resigned after two complaints of unwelcome behavior toward women were investigated by the church board. A statement released by the board on Wednesday said it had accepted Houston’s resignation and would conduct an independent review of its governance structure and processes during a “time of humble reflection.” The news followed a statement on Friday that detailed the two complaints made against Houston. About 10 years ago he sent “inappropriate text messages” to a staff member who then resigned, according to the board statement released Friday. It said Houston had a dependence on sleeping pills — from which he has since recovered — and was under the influence of the medication when he sent the messages. The second incident happened in 2019 at the annual Hillsong Conference, which takes place in Sydney and was opened that year by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Houston knocked on a hotel room door and spent “time with the female occupant,” the board statement said. The church investigation found Houston was disoriented after taking anti-anxiety medication beyond the prescribed dose mixed with alcohol. The board’s statement did not detail what happened in the woman’s hotel room. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corp., Hillsong interim senior global pastor Phil Dooley told a global meeting of 800 church members on Friday that “the truth is we don’t know what happened next.” “The woman has not said there was any sexual activity,” he reportedly added. “Brian has said there was no sexual activity but he was in the room for 40 minutes.” Houston had been on leave since January after he was charged by Australian police with concealing sexual abuse perpetrated by his late father, Frank Houston, also a pastor — unrelated to the two complaints made by women. Authorities allege Frank Houston indecently assaulted a young male in the 1970s and that Brian Houston knew from 1999 but failed to inform police before his father’s death in 2004. He has pleaded not guilty and the matter is yet to be tested in court. The influential Pentecostal church was founded by Brian Houston and his wife, Bobbie, in the Sydney neighborhood of Baulkham Hills in 1983. It has grown to draw 150,000 people to 30 churches worldwide, according to Hillsong, which says its 500 Christian music tracks are sung by 50 million people in 60 languages each week. The celebrity-friendly institution that once counted Justin Bieber as its most famous member has drawn actor Chris Pratt and a Kardashian sister to services. A series of controversies have beset the church in recent years.

According to CBN, A community in Central India is mourning the loss of a Christian pastor who was brutally murdered last week by a group of masked men. According to International Christian Concern (ICC), five men broke into the home of Yalam Shankar in Angampalli village, Bijhapur district of Chhattisgarh state on Thursday. They reportedly dragged the 50-year-old outside and stabbed him to death. His body was taken to the coroner’s office and handed over to family members. Local sources told ICC that Shankar was the senior pastor at Bastar for Christ Movement (BCM) Church in Angampalli. He was a former sarpanch of the village and very well-liked. A local Christian who asked to remain anonymous told ICC, “Christians in this area have been facing intense opposition from the radical Hindu nationalists. Several times Pastor Shankar defended Christians from radical Hindu nationalists, and that could be the reason for this extreme form of persecution of killing.”

According to Religion News Service, Bruxy Cavey, the disgraced former pastor of one of Canada’s largest churches, may have sexually abused more than one woman, the church told its members on Saturday (March 19). In an email, Maggie John, chair of The Meeting House board, wrote that the church has received two more allegations of sexual misconduct against Cavey, who was forced out earlier this month. It did not provide any details as to the nature of the misconduct. She also said the church has hired a third-party victim advocate to independently and confidentially receive any concerns or allegations of sexual misconduct by Cavey or any other staff member of the church. Cavey, who grew The Meeting House into a megachurch with some 5,000 people attending 19 campuses in the larger Toronto metropolitan area, was asked to resign after an independent investigator found that he had a yearslong sexual relationship with a member of his church who sought counseling. The revelation led to the resignation of part-time teaching pastor Danielle Strickland, who said she did not feel the church adequately advocated for the woman, who remains unnamed. In his own blog post responding to the first woman’s accusations, Cavey characterized his actions as “an extramarital affair.” “I am ashamed even to write these words, and I am so sorry that you have to read them,” he wrote. “This adulterous relationship is my greatest failure, my darkest sin, and I take full responsibility for my actions. I have broken bonds of trust with my wife, family, and church family, including the woman I became involved with. I have brought untold pain, heartache, and confusion into the lives of those I love and who love me.” He has not since responded publicly to the new allegations that have arisen. Cavey, with his long hair and tattoos, is one of Canada’s most recognizable church leaders. He became the senior pastor of Upper Oaks Community Church in 1997, later changing its name to The Meeting House. The church grew exponentially as it sought to appeal to people alienated from Christianity and church traditions.

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!

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