chook4The chookwatchers should take up writing novels. Once again they’ve contrived a story without facts and presented it as journalism.

This time they accuse Brian Houston of being a ‘compulsive liar’ and then proceed to completely fabricate an article which has many words but no substance.

I’m no expert, but isn’t this slander or defamation or something? Don’t you damage a person’s reputation when you say things about them that are untrue? Whatever it is, they seem to have convinced themselves and their followers that what they say is actually factual and unimpeachable.

The pattern

Here’s how they do it. They make a statement, such as:

‘This is an important news article worth revisiting to understand how Hillsong has NOT changed or evolved from its cult-like status nor has Brian Houston repented of his lying tongue.’

Oooh! Well this must be very serious then. What did Brian say? Well, actually, the chookwatchers then quote someone else, so they go to a third party, John Sandiman of the Bible Society, and not to Brian himself. John is making it clear in a separate article that Brian is talking about the blessing of the Lord and not a fake ‘prosperity gospel’. He is supporting the case for God being the Blesser and His people being the blessed according to scripture.

OK, well what does the third person say that Brian said, then?

‘“Brian Houston has never believed in a “prosperity gospel”, he told Eternity at a press conference marking the start of this year’s Hillsong Conference…

“The prosperity gospel is… not a term I’ve ever heard used in our church in any context whatsoever,” he says referring to Hillsong Church, suggesting the term has been invented by critics.

“There’s really only one gospel: it’s the gospel of Jesus, the gospel of grace.’

So Brian hasn’t actually lied. He’s merely stated that he is not an exponent of any kind of dedicated ‘prosperity gospel’, as quoted by John Sandiman. Brian makes it clear that there is only one gospel, which is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and is also known as the gospel of grace.

No one should be in any doubt about what Brian has said here. There is a gospel, and that gospel is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and is a gospel of grace. That is the gospel which we preach.

Is there blessing in the gospel?

The notion of a ‘prosperity gospel’ was indeed contrived by critics. This is a known fact. People who are opposed to there being any form of blessing or abundant life or advancement in life through the application of the Word consider this to be what they call the ‘prosperity gospel’.

Terminology is sometimes attributed to others without them actually contriving it. John Wesley did not coin the term ‘Methodist’ for the movement he started. It was conferred on his movement by others. So it is with the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’. It is critics setting up a narrative short hand for their adherents.

Brian clearly states he doesn’t hold to the notion of a ‘prosperity gospel’, because the gospel itself is all-encompassing and involves many facets, including blessing. The gospel is the good news that Jesus has paid the price of our sin through his death at the cross, his burial, and has offered forgiveness and eternal life through his resurrection to life. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus, after which we enter new life and a new and better covenant. It is the new and living way.

That is the beginning of blessing, surely, when we receive Christ as Lord. Here’s what Brian says about being blessed by God.

“And so, when it comes to personal blessing, I see it the same way. God blesses you to be a blessing… that’s the essence of what we are all about.”

The chookwatchers emphasise “God blesses you to be a blessing”, as if there is some controversy to this. Of course, there is a ton of scripture to support the fact that God blesses us to be a blessing, not least revolving around God’s promises to Abraham, which He swore by Himself and are immutable.

Genesis 22:15-18 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son – blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

This is repeated in Hebrews as confirmation of the New Testament promises.

Hebrews 6:11-20 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” 

And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

So God’s promise is that He will bless us and that he will multiply us, and that, when we patiently endure, we will indeed inherit the promises.

That is the basis of the gospel. It is based on greater promises made to Abraham and his Seed, who is Christ, and those who, through faith in Christ, become joint heirs to the promises of God and His inheritance in the saints.

Galatians 3:26-29 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

It was Jesus, through the work of the cross, who became a curse for us so that we could enter the blessing through faith in Jesus Christ.

Galatians 3:13-14 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

And so on and so forth. Gospel 101. There is so much scripture on this that is hard to believe that such astute students of the Word as the chookwatchers could possibly have an issue with Brian or anyone else saying that there is blessing from the Blesser in the gospel of Christ.

Non-biblical quotes 

Instead, the chookwatchers appeal, firstly, not to the Word as I have in this article, but to the ramblings of the media. Yes, they go to their current preferred source – the world. They repeat the unbiblical words of unsaved newspaper reporters who make up some incredible lines so speculative and detached from reality that only those who are thoroughly ignorant of the Word could possibly swallow their narrative.

But, hang on, the newspaper clipping is not actually current. It dates back to 2006 – nine years as of this article, which is why they say in their opening ambit that they are ‘revisiting’ the opinion piece.

Yes, they have to dig deep into past speculation to gain their contrived ‘evidence’ that Brian Houston does allegedly believe in a ‘prosperity gospel’, even though he has made it clear that he wouldn’t use that term to describe what he does teach, or that the newspapers probably don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to Christianity. Other people made this story up around the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’, in other words.

Secondly, and very unfortunately in the circumstances, the chookwatchers add a quote from Geoff Bullock, who is on record as having distanced himself from previous comments made to others and the media during those times.

‘In 2005 I was interviewed by The Australian for an article in their Weekend Magazine. Evidently this article has resurfaced. Many of the things I said came from a place of hurt and disappointment. Many of the things I said did not come from a place of peace. Many were ungracious, lacking love and compassion and were unnecessary. Now, ten years on, it is important for me to say that I regret the article and simply wish that, at that time, I had the patience to allow healing to take place.’

Geoff is a great person, and has long since  moved on from those days of the past. He should be allowed to live his life and not be dragged into the chookwatchers‘ heavy handed claims. The chookwatchers claim to be supportive of Geoff, yet they ignore his request and quote him from that era anyway. Geoff is a gracious man, so I won’t say anything more on this.

No evidence at all

And that’s it. There is not a shred of evidence to link Brian Houston with having lied, let alone shown himself to be a ‘compulsive’ liar.

The chookwatchers created a lie that wasn’t there. This is how they fashion their memes and narrative. That’s why they are more fiction writers than journalists.

The chookwatchers‘ article is entirely based on their own opinion and a list of suppositions trawled from ancient newspaper clippings coupled with erroneous claims.

They need to find out what the gospel is and its basis if they claim that it doesn’t include blessing.

Yes, there is suffering for the saints in this earth, but even that results in a crown of glory of we endure to the end. There will be tribulation, but we are to be of good cheer for Jesus has overcome the world, and we are overcomers through faith in Him.

Even in our weakness, God’s strength is enhanced on our behalf. He will never leave us nor forsake us. We are the head and not the tail, above and not beneath. We are more than conquerors through Christ who strengthens us. There is nothing that can come between us and the Father’s love for us. If He is for us who can be against us. He is our sufficiency in all things He is the Blesser and we are the blessed.

Beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the Better.