Seth Udinski, FISM News
The lead pastor of one of the world’s largest Christian megachurches announced a change in his title last weekend.
Pastor Brian Houston, longtime lead pastor of the Australian-based Hillsong Church, announced his resignation from the church’s boards on Saturday. Many are suspecting that Houston is stepping down due to a messy sexual abuse scandal and attempted coverup. This is closely related to the disheartening story of Pastor Carl Lentz, one of Houston’s former contemporaries. Lentz was the lead pastor of Hillsong’s New York campus until the fall of 2020, when he resigned due to marital unfaithfulness.
Houston released a statement saying,
I wanted to let you know that I’ve made a decision to step aside from my role on the Hillsong Church boards that oversee the governance of our operations. I did this so that these boards can function to their fullest capacity during this season. This doesn’t change my role as Global Senior Pastor. I thought it was important to let our church family know in the interests of transparency, and I wanted you to hear it from me directly.
Houston was charged last month with concealing a sexual abuse incident against a young boy in the 1970s. Some reports speculate that the abuse was perpetrated by Houston’s father, but this is inconclusive. Regardless, Houston himself is under investigation for participating in the coverup. Australian legal personnel released a statement saying,
Police will allege in court [that Houston] knew information relating to the sexual abuse of a young male in the 1970s and failed to bring that information to the attention of police.
Houston is claiming innocence, saying he is “shocked” at the charges.
These charges have come as a shock to me given how transparent I’ve always been about this matter. I vehemently profess my innocence and will defend these charges, and I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight.
Christians should keep this development on their radar. Hillsong is one of the most influential evangelical churches in the 21st century, with millions of Christians worldwide singing worship songs written by Hillsong artists on Sunday mornings. These sexual abuse charges, along with allegations of toxic working environments and controversial theology, will likely keep Hillsong Church in the front of Christian news headlines for weeks to come.
FISM News will continue to cover Brian Houston’s case as it unfolds.