It’s clear to see that Mega churches globally are making a significant impact. Whether this impact is good or bad is mostly up to the person beholding it. However, I do believe we can get some answers about the hub in Christianity. By looking at the theology and fruit of mega-churches like Hillsong, we can get a better grasp of the movement.
What Is Hillsong’s Theology? Hillsong’s theology is similar to that of the Australian Christian Churches. The statements of beliefs are the same as the ACC. Hillsong believes in the authority and divine inspiration of scripture. They also believe that God is triune, that Jesus is both God and man. His sacrifice is the only one that could do the atoning work needed for our salvation and forgiveness. Additionally, they believe that Jesus resurrected from the grave to give us life. Hillsong states that heaven and hell are eternal destinations dependent on our response to Jesus. They proclaim that Jesus will again return as He promised.
In this blog, I will be listing Hillsong’s statements of beliefs and I will briefly explain their connection to the Australian Christian Churches. The beliefs are taken directly from Hillsong’s own website and are not biased or personal opinion. Later in the blog, I will be explaining why it matters to know these beliefs. Furthermore, I will be providing the Apostle’s Creed as a means of comparison to Hillsong.
Hillsong’s Statement of Beliefs
Hillsong is a contemporary church. Google defines the word “contemporary” as “belonging to or occurring in the present.” This seems fitting when you consider the modern style, music, preaching, media, and ministry of Hillsong.
Hillsong begins its statement of beliefs with the word “Glaubensbekenntnis.” This is a German word that can mean either “creed,” or “confession of faith.” The term “creed” is also used to describe the original Apostle’s Creed. This was the statement of beliefs that the first apostles had when the early church was being planted.
Hillsong has an overarching Mission Statement that drives its beliefs. “To reach and influence the world by building a large Christ-centered, Bible-based church, changing mindsets and empowering people to lead and impact in every sphere of life.”
We Believe Statements
Hillsong lists 11 “We Believe” statements. These statements are followed by the basic beliefs that are held by the church. They are as following:
- The Bible is accurate and authoritative. It is the word of God. It has power in our daily lives at this time.
- God is the Trinity. He is three people all at once. He is the eternal Creator, the Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son (Jesus). God’s character is loving and holy.
- Sin is what brings division. It keeps us from God and from His purposes.
- Jesus is both God and man. He is the Lord Jesus Christ. By living a sinless and perfect life, Jesus was able to reconcile us to God through His death. He is the only one who has the power to do so. His death on the cross took our place of punishment. Through His resurrection from the dead, Jesus brought victory and power for our lives.
- Repentance is the gateway to have “new birth” and forgiveness. To receive this forgiveness and new life, we must place our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. Then, we submit ourselves to His will.
- Baptism is necessary to be holy and fruitful in this life. Water baptism, as well as being filled with the Holy Spirit in power, gives the ability to live the life that God purposes. This allows for the spiritual gifts and speaking in tongues to occur.
- The Church is where believers gather to fellowship, pray, and “break bread” (the breaking of bread is from an example from the Early Church). This should occur on a regular basis because. There are power and importance in the church. Note: Hillsong does not mention if this pertains to the global church, the entire body of Christ outside of four walls, or the church on an institutional level. There are various definitions of “church” that can be used.
- The purpose of our lives is to worship God. We are called to fulfill our individual and unique part of the Church and community in which we reside. God Himself equips individuals to achieve this.
- It is God’s desire to bring healing, blessing, and transformation to our lives. He does this so that we can aid others more successfully.
- Based on our response to Jesus, we will either eternally reside in heaven or hell.
- The Lord Jesus Christ will return and fulfill His promise.
Beliefs Associated with The Australian Christian Churches
Furthermore, Hillsong associates itself with the beliefs of the Australian Christian Churches (ACC). The ACC has planted roughly 1,100 churches across Australia. The ACC used to be an Assemblies of God. It has a strong pentecostal heritage, which influences most of its beliefs.
Hillsong came out of the ACC movement. Hence, the immense similarity between the two statements of beliefs. Hillsong essentially adapted the beliefs of the ACC.
Learn more about the ACC, its history, leadership, and statement of identity, here.
Why It Matters What Hillsong Believes
Why does it matter what Hillsong believes? Should we refrain from judging Hillsong because of the comment Jesus made? “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1). Even if we do judge Hillsong, can we really change the positive/negative impact they are making?
First, I will begin by saying, yes, it does matter what Hillsong believes. Hillsong is part of the global Body of Christ. We are all the same body of Christ, whether we attend the same institutional church or not. It is important that we are aware of what Hillsong believes because Hillsong greatly influences our Christian culture, worship songs, and even teachings.
We should know what Hillsong believes. We must educate ourselves. This goes for the beliefs of all megachurches and celebrity Christians. These people are greatly influencing our world for the gospel. We should be on our guard for false teaching and false prophets.
But, this doesn’t only apply to the mass level. This testing should occur on every level of leadership. As Jesus explains, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:15).
Should We Judge Hillsong?
Second, should be judge Hillsong? Yes, and no. Please don’t judge Hillsong or any other Christian organization in a hateful and unedifying way. Some people don’t know the difference between slander, and Biblical conflict resolution.
If you are slamming Hillsong online, you’re probably doing more damage than good. You are most likely gossiping and creating division in the church. Imagine what this looks like to non-believers. Think of family fights and unrest between mothers, fathers, children, and siblings.
Would you want to be adopted into a family like that? Probably not. So why would un-believers want to be adopted into the family of Christ? The Apostle Paul says it very clearly, “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” (Galatians 5:15).
If we are in a situation that requires accountability we must be careful to do so. We certainly should hold our brothers and sisters in Christ to the word of God. We should not let them lead others down a sinful path. But the way we do so must be intentional and tactful.
How Do I Judge Biblically?
Instead, Jesus tells us to love. He says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another” (John 13:35). There is a way to approach issues in a loving way. We must deny our fleshly response to lash out. Rather, we should be slow to speak. We should be careful when posting or speaking against other believers.
However, this does not mean we are not called to judge or hold believers accountable. Frequently scripture teaches us to “test the spirits,” to be aware of wolves in sheep’s clothing, and to recognize false prophets by their fruit.
Ultimately, we should test Hillsong to the standard of the Word. If there is an issue, let’s handle it how Jesus instructed in Matthew 18:15-17. First, go to the individual (if possible), then take one or two others with if it did not work. Next, present the individual to the church.
If you cannot go directly to the organization, go to your local community of believers and lovingly make them aware of the situation. Protect the believers around you and globally, but do so in the name of love. There is no benefit to creating a church hierarchy where one institution is better than the other.
You can speak out online when needed but genuinely ask yourself, “Is it necessary?”, “Is it edifying?”, “Is it loving and leading others closer to Jesus?”
Hillsong’s statement of beliefs is recognized as mostly Biblical. The biggest area of struggle is that of prosperity. Most people don’t believe that coming to Christ results in blessing and health. Many faithful followers of Christ struggle physically and are not blessed financially.
For this reason, Hillsong faces opposition. Hillsong has also been noted to do questionable things over the years, but this doesn’t mean that the whole ministry of Hillsong is corrupt. Hillsong has made significant impact for the good.
Ultimately, we are called to put our faith in God and not people. We shouldn’t look to a church to be perfect. However, we should do our part to call the body of Christ back to scripture and holiness.
We should protect young believers from harmful theology or experiences that are not of God. This can happen in any setting or denomination. By keeping our eyes on Jesus, and our minds aware, we can better approach these harder issues, whether its Hillsong or another group of believers.
Learn more about Hillsong, here.