Hillsong Church, hugely popular for the uplifting worship songs that have energised and refreshed the Body of Christ worldwide, is presently entangled in a controversy surrounding two of its music directors.
It all started when Geoffrey Grider, who is a Christian minister, on August 2 blogged news that gay couple Josh Canfeld and Reed Kelly, an openly gay couple preaching the LGBT agenda, had been engaged as leaders of the Hillsong New York City Church choir.
Grider is described on his SermonAudio.com profile as “a full-time minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ” who also “runs a successful web design company.” Grider, also identified as a street preacher, published his now viral blog post on Hillsong NYC’s openly gay and engaged members, Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly.
In his post, shared more than 55,000 times via Facebook, Grider writes:
“Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly are a proudly-out homosexual couple who preach the gospel of the LGBT Agenda. They became ‘engaged’ last year and are planning a ‘wedding’ for sometime in 2016.
They feel no conviction of any kind for the lifestyle they lead, and yet, shockingly, they are allowed to lead the worship choir during church services at Hillsong in New York City.”
On August 4, Christian Post online reported Hillsong founding Pastor Brian Houston as having disclaimed the information and said:
“I wish to correct reports that Hillsong church has ‘an openly gay couple directing a choir’ at our New York City campus. Hillsong’s position on homosexuality and gay marriage has not changed and is consistent with Scripture.
As I have stated previously, I believe the writings of Paul are clear on this subject.
“Several months ago when one of our choir directors made an unexpected public statement regarding his engagement to a man who sometimes sang in the choir, it was a complete surprise to us as well.
It is my understanding that they have not been involved in an active leadership or ministry role since.
That said, we still love them and acknowledge that – like all of us—are on a journey, and our role as a church is to assist them on this journey with grace and compassion.”
Houston further said: “I also live by my own convictions, and hold to traditional Christian thought on gay lifestyles and gay marriage. I do believe God’s word is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman.
The writings of the apostle Paul in scripture on the subject of homosexuality are also clear, as I have mentioned in previous public statements.
“Hillsong Church welcomes ALL people but does not affirm all lifestyles. Put clearly, we do not affirm a gay lifestyle and because of this we do not knowingly have actively gay people in positions of leadership, either paid or unpaid. I recognise this one statement alone is upsetting to people on both sides of this discussion, which points to the complexity of the issue for churches all over the world.”
The sources that Grider points to, to support his claims, include a January 29 Playbill article on Canfield that includes comments of his that were originally published in a December interview.
In that interview, Canfield speaks about coming out of the closet at Hillsong NYC, and states that he is “one of their choir directors” and also sings on the worship team.
“I became truthful with my church. I’m a part of Hillsong NYC. I’m one of their choir directors. I also sing on their Worship team. They’ve been amazing as well,” Canfield said.
“Nothing has changed there now that I’m completely out and with Reed. He sings in the choir as well. I found that being an honest person has actually come with a lot of benefits. People are more sincere with you, and you find out a lot more about other people when you become honest,” Canfield said.
The article refers to New York Times which months prior, in an October 2014 article, suggested that Pastor Houston had “shifted” on gay marriage, that “some of Hillsong’s churches appear to be open to gays and lesbians.”
The article stated that Canfield and Kelly “worship and sing in the choir at Hillsong New York” and that “Canfield is a volunteer choir director at the church.”
If you have followed the rise of homosexuality in the Western church, the Hillsong incident is only a drop in the ocean.
The immense pressure that church leaders are battling in the US and other developed countries has been exposed on Oprah Winfrey’s television shows. One by one, top leaders of mega-churches who have been her guests have crumbled and stammered at her simple questions: Is homosexuality a sin? Will homosexuals go to Hell?
The answer is a simple and plain and straight YES. All sinners who do not and cannot repent of their sins and find forgiveness and eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ will waste and burn in an eternal Hell. That is plain and straight Bible.
But no one should perish because Jesus died so that sinners might live: the penalty for all sin has been paid for in full.
There should be no controversy about that because the same Jesus rose from the dead and reigns in Heaven at the right hand of God. Everyone who calls on His Name will be saved from sin and eternal death.
But believers in the West have been traumatized by ocean waves of political scavenging, media hype and betrayal by preachers who have for decades crusaded not for salvation of gays but for their endorsement.
The overthrow of biblical Christianity is well underway in the West where the Bible is prohibited in many public institutions. That may sound distant, but Christians here must fear for the Church in Zambia because the end-game of today’s isms is to overthrow essential Christianity and replace it with a ‘do as thou wilt’ alternative.
This is an important reason why Christians in Zambia should by all means be alert and not permit homosexual rights to be legalized here: as we shall see, the goal of the homosexual movement is to overthrow not only Christianity but natural society altogether.
We must not forget what it is to become a Christian: If you meet Christ and turn from all your sins, and sins include sodomy and lesbianism, His blood cleanses you of all your sins. The Holy Spirit enters your heart and you become a new person.
This is by far the greatest of all miracles: the conversion of a mortal sinner into a redeemed, forgiven child of God.
By that absolute transformation alone, no homosexual will continue in that homosexuality.
And if a group of people genuinely are in Christ, and call themselves a church, they will not identify themselves with a sin, but rather with a Christian virtue. That is why names of churches generally speak to a spiritual virtue or value, rather than a human fault.
‘Christians’ who choose to hoist flags or banners proclaiming their commitment to sodomy and lesbianism are against Jesus Christ and the whole biblical counsel of God. They have brewed their own carnal wine and are comfortably drinking it.
Therefore, if it is right to identify the house of God as a gay community church or gay metropolitan church, which is the case in the West, we might as well identify congregations at large with all other human weaknesses.
Since Lucifer is a hard taskmaster, the deal would not close and end where we are now, but we would eventually fall into the following kinds of churches: Lusaka Alcoholic Church; Ndola Adultery Church; Mufulira Deception Church; Chipata Witchcraft Church; Senanga Hatred Church; Chirundu Theft Church; Mpika Murder Church; and Solwezi Incest Church.
That is weird to the eye, but that is the root meaning of ‘gay church’ which in reality is ‘homosexuality church.’ Only witches’ covens and criminal gangs choose for themselves names reflecting their nature. Where a ‘church’ opposes Bible teaching it is akin to a Satanist temple where Satan and everything opposed to Christ is worshipped.
If homosexual rights ever materialised by law in Zambia, which must not happen because of important practical reasons, churches would be compelled to do the following:
• Stop describing homosexuality as a sin;
• Conduct same-sex weddings;
• Employ homosexuals;
• Support homosexual causes; and
• Be sympathetic towards all other sexual deviations (which the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender movement supports).
Such prohibitions would also cripple biblical teaching on many other sins because no sin exists exclusively by itself. This is the case in the West. And because no sin exists by itself, Christians are strongly taught to allow the devil no space at all because one sin that is sheltered and cuddled always pulls in a long queue of other evils.
Ephesians 4:27 is explicit when it says “Do not give the devil a foothold.” James 2:10 says plainly: “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” All sins are interlinked, so you cannot choose between major and lesser sins.
This means that the end result of homosexual rights in a nation, which translates into homosexual rights in church, is the death of the Gospel. It becomes illegal to preach Christ and the Cross on which He died for our salvation.
Presently, few preachers in the West proclaim any Gospel at all. What they have left is motivational talk, do-it-yourself ideas but no life-saving biblical word. Sinners are perishing in church, which is even worse than perishing in a tavern.
In the US and many parts of Europe, there now exist gay churches in their hundreds. In major church denominations, gay clerics have ascended to top positions.
Church organizations that support homosexuality in America are numberless. This is proof that gay movements are out to weaken, disembowel, castrate, dilute and cripple the Church.
In his book The Homosexual Network, Enrique T. Rueda observes: “Churches, once they have been infiltrated by the homosexual movement, constitute one of its most important allies.”
David A. Noebel said in his 1984 book The Homosexual Revolution that “One of the most important segments of society advocating and defending the homosexual lifestyle is the religious community.”
Apparently, drives to accept and accommodate homosexuality in Western churches started long ago. Little wonder Christianity has been overthrown within the church in the West.
Noebel cites a resolution by a United Methodist Council on Youth Ministries in 1974 which said: “Homosexual practice should not be a bar to the ministry of that denomination.”
In 1978 a United Presbyterian task force declared that “the orientation of practicing homosexuals is consistent with the standards of the denomination.” It approved the homosexual lifestyle and argued that each local presbytery should decide for itself what it would do in handling the issue.
Anglicans and Methodist Episcopalians have been torn apart by the appointments of gay bishops in the US and the UK. Such developments do not strengthen the witness of the Christian Church; rather they disable the Gospel by changing it to accommodate sins we do not want to repent of.
Noebel says the most significant homosexual infiltration into the religious community has been the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.
This is a homosexual denomination at the centre of homosexual religious organizations. Its founder Troy Perry boasted that his homosexual denomination was instrumental in helping gay caucuses be formed in the United Methodist Church, United Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church.
At that time the UFMCC was aiming for a foothold in world church bodies of different categories.
Now that homosexuality and same-sex marriages are legal throughout the US, that is a victory for groups such as those cited here. But then, churches that lose their salt—by proclaiming the very things the Bible prohibits or by denying salvation in Christ Jesus— eventually lose society’s attention.
They lose their relevance and the same society that applauded their betrayal of the Gospel forgets them and moves on.
Reuters reported that on July 31, 2015 that Father Bartholomew Daly conducted the last mass at Church of Our Lady Peace in New York on that day.
Mournful Catholic parishioners across New York attended final mass services on Friday in some of dozens of churches closing or stopping regular worship services.
The closures followed an announcement by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York in November that it would consolidate 368 parishes into 294, reflecting a national trend of parish closures in the United States caused by low attendance, a shortage of priests and financial troubles.
Challenges facing New York’s Catholic parishes were experienced elsewhere in the nation, where churches had started increasingly closing since the early 2000s, said Mark Gray, a senior research associate at the Center for Applied Research on the Apostolate at Georgetown University.
The world has changed, therefore all believers in Zambia must awake and keep a sharp eye on the church, the executive, the judiciary, the legislature, civil society and—sadly—Western missionaries. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org