Sunday, 18 November 2007
Hillsong - Pt. 1
If you're an Aussie, you already know what Hillsong is. If you're a church-going Kiwi, chances are you do too. Walk into any Christian bookshop in Australia or New Zealand and cruise the music display, Hillsong will leap out at you. Hillsong Music is big business, with an influence that extends well beyond the Assemblies of God, the denomination which Hillsong belongs to. Hillsong is Australia's largest, most successful mega-church, and its TV program is seen in a number of other countries including the US (TBN, Daystar), Canada, New Zealand (TV3 and Shine) and - of all places - Estonia. Even current Prime Minister John Howard has put in an appearance in the pews.
You might think that puts it light years beyond Armstrongism, but not necessarily so. Tanya Levin, a former Hillsong member, recently launched a book that promises to do for Hillsong what David Robinson's Tangled Web did for WCG.
Called People in Glass Houses, Levin's book had a rough ride before hitting the bookstores. Publisher Allen & Unwin backed off after agreeing to print the book in February. Truth, however, will eventually out, and the book, with a new publisher, has now been reprinted after its first edition sold out. Unfortunately, as there's no American edition, readers in the northern hemisphere might be hard-pressed to find a copy, but an article in the Sydney Morning Herald is a helpful place to find out more.
Levin's tale is reminiscent of times past in the WCG with all the key elements: fanaticism, money and sex. I have no idea how many former WCG folk have been lured into the Hillsong embrace, but if there's anything we've learned over the years it's that disillusioned members tend to be drawn to equally dubious movements as moths to the flame.
More on this to follow...