NEW YORK — Brian Houston, senior pastor of Australia-based Hillsong Church, was hit with a series of critical questions during a press conference in New York City on Thursday, just hours before he was to take the stage at Madison Square Garden to preach before more than 5,000 Hillsong Conference attendees.
Houston, 60, appeared visibly nervous as he sat alongside his wife and Hillsong Church co-pastor Bobbie Houston and his son and Hillsong United frontman Joel Houston, who also pastors at Hillsong NYC with Carl Lentz. Lentz rounded out the quartet of church representatives at the press conference, where the group welcomed local media to probe them about the conference kicking off that night and issues related to their ministry work through the multi-city megachurch.
Once the floor was opened up for questions, however, it became clear that some members of the press were more interested in hearing about the sex abuse committed by Brian Houston's father in the 1970s, how Hillsong Church spends its money, and how the senior pastor handles cultural relevancy, specifically when it comes to issues of sexuality. more >>
This week the country learned that in the politically red state of Texas is the liberal, blue city of Houston, which is led by Mayor Annise Parker, an avowed lesbian.
In May, Mayor Parker rammed through the city council a controversial transgender rights measure called the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), otherwise known as the "bathroom bill." It would allow men who self identify as females to use the women's bathroom and vice versa. Obviously, the ordinance was controversial and five local pastors mounted a successful campaign to gather 50,000 signatures to oppose the measure. This was more than three times the number of signatures necessary to force a voter referendum on the ordinance.
Despite the overwhelming number of signatures gathered, the Houston city attorney dismissed the petitions claiming that there were "irregularities." Thereafter, a lawsuit was filed by four citizens outraged at such disregard for public sentiment. A court date has been set for January 19, 2015 to decide this matter. more >>
Matt Carter, a former member of Mars Hill Church and lead guitarist in the Christian rock band Emery, recently spoke out about the resignation of his former pastor Mark Driscoll and called the move a "good thing."
The rocker took to his BadChristian blog in a post titled "Mark Driscoll Has Resigned From Mars Hill, and Other Good News" to address Driscoll's decision to resign from his position at the church which Carter attended and served at for 10 years.
Although he starts the blog by expressing his appreciation for Driscoll's leadership skills and ministry strategies, he goes on to illustrate why he believes the decision was smart for both the church and his former mentor and also talks about the reason why he left the church a few years back. more >>
Joel Houston, the son of Hillsong Senior Pastor Brian Houston, recently opened up about fanfare as it relates to the success of his megachurch band Hillsong United.
The Sydney-based pastor was in New York City on Thursday to kick off the three-day Hillsong conference at Madison Square Garden theater and he spoke about the band receiving it's first ever American Music Award nomination during a press conference.
The band is nominated for an AMA in the Contemporary Inspirational Artist category. While Houston, 35, expressed delight in the recognition, he explained that Hillsong United has a much greater purpose. more >>
The recent debacle involving the city of Houston attempting to subpoena the sermons of five pastors demanding that they turn over their comments addressing homosexuality, gender identity or the city's first lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, hasn't scared off one of the men in the center of the battle.
"The bottom line from our perspective of these subpoenas is that they were an act of intimidation and harassment by the city through the law firms to bury is in this type of a demand in an attempt to shut us down, to try to run us out of time, will, or money to continue this lawsuit to its conclusion," Dave Welch, the executive director of the Houston area U.S. Pastor Council, one of the five who received a subpoena, told The Christian Post Wednesday night about the issue reaching the courts.
"So, they basically have no legal defense for their action. We will win this in court," he said. more >>
Houston is home to one of NASA's most sophisticated space centers -- but even it would have trouble finding signs of intelligence in the local Mayor's office. The city's highest official is blowing past the First Amendment at warp speed -- and lighting a political powder keg in the process.
After four years of forcing her extreme agenda on the city, Mayor Annise Parker may have finally picked a fight she's bound to regret. Five months after bullying her way into a Houston-wide "bathroom bill," Parker is furious that the city's voters won't roll over and accept it. Instead, America's fourth-largest city fought back, gathering three times the number of signatures needed to put the issue on the ballot. Furious with local pastors for leading the pushback, Parker decided to get her revenge by ordering a Soviet-style crackdown on area churches.
In a story that's spreading like wildfire, the Mayor had the nerve to subpoena pastors for their sermons, text messages, photographs, electronic files, calendars, and emails -- "all communications with members of your congregation" on topics like homosexuality and gender identity. If she thought her religious "inquisition" would scare pastors, she's got another thing coming. Local Christians are more outraged than ever, igniting a firestorm that could awaken a sleeping giant in churches from coast to coast. "We're not intimidated at all," said Rev. Dave Welch. "We're not going to yield our First Amendment rights," he warned -- even if it ends in fines, confinement, or both. more >>