The Hillsong Factor

Hillsong has it’s fair share of critics. Concerns about size, transfer growth, image and prosperity teaching seem to dominate.

This article in Christianity Today has a balanced outsider’s view of the Hillsong factor, outlining some of the history and tackling some of the issues. However, I tend to agree with Matt Stone’s concern about the statement, "The church is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church." I think it’s meant to affirm that the church is God’s vehicle for blessing the world, but it does rather come across as suggesting the world isn’t important. As Matt notes, "God so loved the world that he sent his Son…".

Hillsong is not quite my kind of church, but I’m always glad to be a visitor to a local Hillsong inspired congregation here. Find me a church where some of us don’t have a bit of an issue with the way things are done and some theological reflection about the way things should be. Hillsong is just one of the ways God seems to be renewing his church and making it accessible to those who are of this culture, and several generations away from so much of what passes for church.

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5 Responses to The Hillsong Factor

  1. Jade says:

    Maybe the statement referred to (The church is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church.) is urging the church to stop feeling inferior to the secular world. In which case its a call to take courage and fulfil the great commission.

  2. paul says:

    the quote in question is actually from Eph 1:20-23 in the Message Bible.
    “All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.”

  3. Tim Abbott says:

    Jade – absolutely. There’s no doubt the world often views the church as peripheral, though I guess we should also look to ourselves to work out why we’re perceived this way.
    Paul – thank you for pointing out the reference from “The Message”. I’d not made that connection, and it certainly makes a lot more sense when read in the context of the whole paragraph.
    In general I love The Message, but I’m really not sure about this passage. The emphasis of these verses (ref: NIV, NLT, ASB, NKJV) speaks of Christ’s rule and authority. It refers to Christ’s headship over all things for the church, his body, Christ’s rule filling everything in every way. I don’t find in any other version reference to peripheral relationships between the church and the world in the way that’s inferred in The Message.

  4. Tim Abbott says:

    Jade – absolutely. There’s no doubt the world often views the church as peripheral, though I guess we should also look to ourselves to work out why we’re perceived this way.
    Paul – thank you for pointing out the reference from “The Message”. I’d not made that connection, and it certainly makes a lot more sense when read in the context of the whole paragraph.
    In general I love The Message, but I’m really not sure about this passage. The emphasis of these verses (ref: NIV, NLT, ASB, NKJV) speaks of Christ’s rule and authority. It refers to Christ’s headship over all things for the church, his body, Christ’s rule filling everything in every way. I don’t find in any other version reference to peripheral relationships between the church and the world in the way that’s inferred in The Message.

  5. Matt Stone says:

    Paul, you’ll find my take on “The Message” buried further down in the comments section of the above mentioned post.
    I should also like to add, I found myself in the curious position of defending Hillsong against Today Tonight last month, so while I do critique them I try to be fair and reasonable.

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