ACCC Resolution Against Hillsong

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TylerR's picture


The ACCC is so cute, and their commitment to Biblical accuracy is always touching. In their article, they draw a parallel between Hillsong and the Israelites who had rampant sex with cultic, pagan prostitutes near the Tent of Meeting in the wilderness ("the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab ..."). Perhaps, in this analogy, the ACCC is Phineas (he of the eternal covenant) ... ? 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

....of how bad the "case for traditional music" really is.  They simply assume their conclusion that the Hillsong forms of music are worldly, fleshly, and the like, while basically Godwinning themselves by assuming that listening to modern music is equivalent to ancient fertility rites.  

Not that the "no old music" movement is much better, mind you, but this is just plain depressing.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture


Here is the resolution with my comments:

Numbers 25 records the terrible consequences God’s people faced when they joined themselves with the Moabite and Midianite women in the vile pagan worship of Baal-peor. God destroyed 24,000 Israelites for this violation of the covenant of Sinai, and His judgment would have continued unabated had not Phineas stayed His hand. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthian Church centuries later, may well have had Numbers 25 in mind when he warned Christians: “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.”

How is Hillsong a form of pagan worship?

How is this allegedly pagan worship analogous to sexual relations with cultic Moabite prostitutes? 

How is the use of Hillsong in private or corporate worship analogous to a violation of the Mosaic Covenant, as you imply it is? 

Why do you assume Hillsong worship is analogous to being yoked with unbelievers? 

Why do you not specify if you are speaking about private or corporate worship?

Trying to mix the pagan with the holy in worship is an unequal yoke and therefore, forbidden. Many who would shudder at the thought of a Baal-peor moment seem to have a blind spot when it comes to offering worldly, fleshly music to a holy God. Hillsong Church is just such an organization.

The Israelites in Numbers 25 were not trying to mix sacred and profane. They were having sex with cultic prostitutes. 

How is Hillsong music "worldly" and "fleshly" in a manner analogous to the "worldly flesh" of the Moabite cultic prostitutes?  

On what basis do you impute worldly, fleshly motives to Hillsong as an organization? Your comments go to intent; not methods. How can you substantiate this claim of sensuous, worldly intent on Hillsong's part? 

Hillsong originated in 1983 as the Hills Christian Life Center in Sydney New South Wales, Australia, founded by husband and wife co-pastors, Brian and Bobbie Houston. Their small assembly of 45 people increased exponentially over the next 35 years into an international denomination of 140,000 attendees and a large viewership of their Hillsong Channel.

This is irrelevant to your point. 

Hillsong’s global popularity is driven in large part by their pop-style music, which is produced by three of their music teams: Hillsong Worship, Hillsong United, and Hillsong Young & Free. These groups have received numerous awards for their successful songs. In 2016 Hillsong Young & Free was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album. That same year Hillsong United was named Top Christian Artist at Billboard Music Awards. In January of this year, Hillsong Worship received a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Song/Performance for its hit song, “What a Beautiful Name.”

This is irrelevant to your point. How is the employment of "pop-style music" inherently sinful? 

In a December 2017 article entitled “Hillsong Unites Believers and Those Old Agnostics John, Paul, George and Ringo,” The New York Times reported on Hillsong NYC’s successful Christmas service. The author of the article noted that “more than a thousand worshipers attended a Pentecostal singalong whose set list included Beatles hits like ‘Canʼt Buy Me Love’ and ‘Here Comes the Sun.’” The newspaper reporter explained what the leaders of Hillsong seemed to have forgotten: “The Beatles did not have a great relationship with Jesus Christ. In 1964, the band’s publicist told the Saturday Evening Post that the boys were ‘completely anti-Christ.’”

Carl Lentz's doctrinal eccentricities are well-known and documented. You have not specified whether your condemnation goes to Hillsong's music, or the entire organization. You seem to assume Carl Lentz's actions taint everything Hillsong does, at an organizational level - why? 

The true Church, past and present, has wrestled to balance the right use of music in its worship. In the Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin documents this struggle. He offers a timeless truth: “Songs composed merely to tickle and delight the ear are unbecoming the majesty of the Church and cannot but be most displeasing to God.”[ii]

Yes. You have yet not explained the criteria by which you thereby condemn Hillsong. 

The rise of Hillsong music illustrates that much of today’s evangelical church has chosen to “tickle and delight the ear,” provoking God’s displeasure.

This statement impugns the intent of those who use Hillsong. On what basis do you make this charge of willful, deliberate "tickling?" 

Their syncretization of the world’s music with “Christian” themes yields a diluted gospel message,


exposes the abandonment of biblical separation,


grieves the Holy Spirit,

How? Why?

and embraces the enemy of Christ in an unequal yoke.


Therefore, the American Council of Christian Churches at its 77th annual convention, October 23-25, 2018, at the Bible Presbyterian Church of Collingswood, NJ, resolves to guard our worship by resisting the pressure to yoke ourselves with worldly music that appeals to the flesh and grieves our holy God.

You have not established this allegation; you are simply making statements. 

We will heed the Apostle Paul’s admonition of Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Do you not believe Hillsong songs can be used to teach and admonish? Can they not be sung with grace in the hearts of the worshippers? Why not? Please explain. 

And we will allow no concord between Christ and Belial as we seek to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord (2 Cor. 6:15, 7:1).

You are saying Hillsong is inherently wicked, but you have not substantiated this allegation. I wish you luck in perfecting your holiness. Your organization also needs to auto-redirect your old website to the current one; the old one lies abandoned in cyberspace and may confuse many people. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Ron Bean's picture

The previous remarks challenging the ACCC's resolution reminded how things have changed. In the pre-internet days, which really weren't that long ago, statements like this seemed to go unchallenged. In those days people with questions or challenges had no forum to express themselves which, IMO, led the leadership of the group to assume that everyone agreed with them. I suspect that what has happened is that those who disagreed with these types of statements chose to just quietly leave these fellowships making them a shadow of what they used to be.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Ed Vasicek's picture

When people have an agenda to maintain extra-biblical traditions or remnants of a fading culture, they can always present an argument -- of some sort.  Any argument will do, really.

Things like using selective reasoning, appealing to the emotions, and labeling anything new as "worldly" and anything vintage as "godly" are reasons why, for many years, I distanced myself from fundamentalism.  You have to try to be fair, and not just be concerned about persuasion.

I am glad that much of fundamentalism has (or is beginning) to get over this.


"The Midrash Detective"