Who wants Mr. Rogers when you can have Carl Lentz, right?
Recently, the Hillsong marketing people looked at Phoenix mega-church pastor Terry Crist and thought, "hmmm, he needs a little work, but we can make him Hillsong compatible."
Now look at the ordinary pastor on the left; notice how ordinary he looks? He's just not cool enough to lead people with vision. Now notice the pastor on the right-he's cool and relevant enough to cast a vision from Phoenix all the way to Sydney! Here's the miraculous part-it's the same pastor, but the one on the left is a photo from when he was younger! That's one of the many benefits that a Hillsong takeover provides; this pastor is finally free to get some, um, "cosmetic enhancement." (Thanks for being an upstanding proponent of the "youth above all else" church growth program, Pastor Terry!)
Once people are convinced that their pastor is "real" enough, and "relevant" enough, he can become the vision-casting super pastor that God always hoped he would be! Thanks Hillsong!
Hillsong New York has set the bar very high for coolness and relevance with the extremely cool pastor Carl Lentz. Pastor Carl has the distinct advantage of actually being young, whereas Pastor Terry has to pretend, by dressing up, dyeing his hair and getting that pompadour thing going across his head. Here's a nice montage of that role model for all pastors who demand nothing but the highest standard of coolness, Carl Lentz (you may want to bookmark this and send it to your pastor):
Okay, enough of this silly stuff. Here's the cold hard truth; Hillsong is a global corporation that is taking over churches all across the world. They don't teach orthodox, Bible-based Christianity; they are spreading the Word of Faith Gospel and the New Apostolic Reformation. The takeover of City of Grace in Phoenix is just the latest. The internet has been (apparently) scrubbed clean of City of Grace-it's like that giant church never even existed. And City of Grace was a merger of a couple other fairly large churches in 2008. These are large, professional organizations lead by CEO pastors/leaders that bear little resemblance to church congregations of the past-and they have no precedent in scripture. Newer. Bigger. Louder. More modern. No hymnals, choirs, crosses, organs... and frankly, not a lot of older people. People are attracted to the rock music, the feeling of a theater or night club (certainly not a church) and the positive, feel-good messages delivered by celebrity "pastors." The real problem? The Gospel of Jesus Christ has been altered until it's recognized by name only.
PLEASE read this story from our good friends at Church Watch Central about this Phoenix takeover, with a LOT more detail about Hillsong on their site:
Here's a LOT more information about Brian Houston and his Hillsong church: "The Brian Houston & Hillsong Cornucopia of False Doctrine, Abuse, Obfuscation & Money Generation"
For those of you who think it's mean and un-loving to criticize Hillsong, Terry Crist, Carl Lentz (or any other popular teacher) here's a list of Bible verses to consider: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know.
Finally, here's an important article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.
Steven Kozar started The Messed Up Church; he is an artist, musician, blogger and stuff.