procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hillsong loves a cheerful tither

on my day off yesterday, before auditioning for ready steady cook, i was watching whatever the channel 7 morning show is (the one with larry), and they were interviewing some Hillsongers

having several people in my faculty at uni from hillsong, and other denominations i'm not 100% on the same page as, i've often tried to pin down why i'm uncomfortable with a lot of what they say.

there are many areas of agreement, but it's not good enough to say "i like some of your stuff, but not this," as there must be an underlying thing behind it.

and i think larry's question on tithing might have triggered the answer.

the atheist society at UNSW had a sign up saying, "Hillsong: God's ATM Machine (sic.)"

larry's question was along these lines, and the answer was, "tithing is a biblical principal. I give 10%."

and i think i've got it
it's all about biblical theology.
the way they read the bible, beginning to end, is fundamentally different. questions i have from Hillsong members, and other AOG* churches, betray a lack of understanding in the cohesiveness of the whole bible. a superficiality of understanding, of Jesus' fulfillment of the Law.

so Paul's exhortation to give generously, with a joyful heart, supplying others' need out of your riches; has been summed up in the Law - give 10%, as opposed to the other way around, where 10% was a number, due to the hardness of people's hearts.

i hope this is the sympathetic reading i've been searching for.

* Assemblies of God, the bigger denomination Hillsong comes under

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Blogger Matty said...

I also saw this; it was on ‘The Morning Show’...
Some of the things that stood out to me...

1. When asked about giving 10% tithing, one of them responded, ‘I give because I know I’ll receive... Bill Gates gives 10% of his money away knowing that he’ll receive...’

Bill Gates is regarded as being agnostic, so firstly, what does he have to do with tithing - it seems to me that it’s an unrelated argument/point = useless.

Secondly, as he's agnostic, he wouldn’t be giving because any biblical principles or out of faith, etc... Does that mean from a Hillsong point of view anyone, regardless of religious views, who gives away their money will receive?

(Note: Bill Gates doesn't give to any church, more on where his money goes,

(More on Bill Gates and he’s believes,

2. When questioned what they say to Hillsong critics in general, the same lady talked about how you just need to look at the ‘good’ Hillsong puts back into the community, i.e. charity work, etc.

Um..? Most religions have their own organised forms of charity and a lot of unstructured work goes on as well... And a lot of charities aren’t associated with any religion; so once again I fail to see the point of what she was saying...

To be fair to Hillsong I’ve only commented on the negative things that I heard. I also only saw the tale-end of the program as I fell asleep waiting for it to come on – I was pretty groggy during the bits that I did see as well...
Btw. if you do a Google on ‘Hillsong the morning show’ this blog appears as the first result on the second page!

6:19 pm  
Blogger Hayley said...

I also watched this too...

I was little frustrated with their answers on tithing... wanting them to say something just as general but at least something that alludes to the gospel: "I give more than a tithe because I want to support whats going on!"

I also had issues with the sex answers they gave... reasons why they don't have sex before marriage: "God values me and my body and so I value my body" or something to that vain.

Really my frustration was not what they said but what they didn't say! I think the only one of them that mentioned JESUS was the trendy guy in the middle, and that he was converted by God not the Hillsong church!

Instead of letting my frustration fester I emailed The Morning Show, as I watched hoping they would read my email on the show... partly defending Hillsong commending them as a group who meet together as followers of Jesus like any Christan church and are not a cult. Plus I tried to compliment the Hillsong answers with Gospel motives!

Why does Hillsong hit the press, do "we" need better publicity to get them to notice 2000 odd people up at ENGAGE and other KCC events or all the women who descend on Darling Harbour for EQUIP...??? Why aren't "we" newsworthy???

3:12 pm  
Blogger May said...

cause evangelicals are boring.
it's only the evangelicals in america who are a bit weird, well weird for australians. they're more similar to the pentecostal/charismatic crew over here.

i cringe for the 'street' cred of christianity. but then hey, we're all a bunch of people who know we are sinners, a lot of us get theology wrong. we need to keep on working on it, asking God for wisdom, the holy spirit to guide us and help us discern, and perhaps some grace. i know i say and do a lot of things which are cringe-worthy.

at the end of the day, i have to remind myself that whilst you can be as the hillsong-esque mantra is, 'attractive' and 'relevant', i'm not about preaching my own gospel.

i was a hillsonger for a year. there is a lot of potential in the church, they have a lot of excitement and energy and quite good organising skills, though lately their crowd control and ethos has to be questioned (my friends and i almost couldn't get into exo day because they had oversold?) a lot of it is attractive, some of it rightly so. a warm community of people who are generous and excited about life, that's great. but over time, if new christians don't learn about holiness and the call to live holy, and the call to dedicate your whole life, even if you get nothing else in return but salvation... well that's when it just becomes some other religion.

and sometimes it saddens me because i feel that is what is happening.

9:42 pm  
Blogger May said...

ps. it's also funny that most evangelicals i know wear kathmandu.
it's just really odd.
but yeah. i don't know, sometimes i think the main thing is good about hillsong is that they are warm and accepting - perhaps a little overboard and it can become questionable.

i do remember though hearing an MTSer completely dismiss colour conference run by hillsong, as well as reading something in the AFES magazine during first year because it was in the cbs stand about darlene zchech's extravagant worship album being likened to the slippery ways of the devil.

oh and let's not forgot the whole misunderstood and approached very badly (bar grimmo at last year's myc, irelate) issue of women in authority positions in church.
before that, and trent, i have been utterly confused, humiliated and generally felt like crap by people who are evangelicals.

so you know, i have a had some bad experiences to make it a more balanced comment.

we are all sinful. it's such a shame that we need other tags and qualifiers to say what kinds of christians we are. in my head there is only one. someone who repents and believes and puts God first. and who seeks to understand the bible and takes it as the word of God even when it is hard.

9:48 pm  
Blogger Hayley said...

may: i guess that is my frustration... Where was JESUS in their answers! No matter who you are, what church you are at, let's keep preaching the gospel and treasuring Christ!

10:18 pm  
Blogger psychodougie said...

and all the good stuff is why i've been struggling to work out what's going on, i.e. where my problems with them actually lie.

i think the differing view on biblical theology makes it clearer to me; i think it sums up a lot of their views

4:11 pm  

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