February 18, 2005

Horse 299 - Holy Church of Dollar

An evangelical Christian church with links to the Liberal Party has received almost $800,000 in grants from government departments in the past five years.
The Sydney-based Hillsong Church has received $473,588 from the Department of Family and Community Services since 1999, according to government answers to Labor questions on notice.
The Department of Workplace Relations also gave one of the pentecostal church's organisations more than $300,000 last financial year alone.
- SMH 18/02/05

Fairfax Newspapers

This is the final straw that broke the camel's back. It took me a very very long time to arrive at this opinion but I am now fairly well convinced that Hillsong's primary aim is to sell CD's to an overly trusting Christian market. It seems either suspicious that the sitting member of parliament for Greenway, Louise Markus, happens to be both a member of the Liberal party and a long standing member of Hillsong and with these questions put before the Federal Goverment, I too wish to know the answers.

What made me somewhat prick my ears up was something hidden on page 26 of the Sun-Herald on Feb 6 this year:

Hillsong superstar splashes out $2m for recording studio
Darlene Zschech Australia's biggest-selling Christian singer has bought one of the country's best-known studios, which has been used to record albums by artists such as Silverchair, Delta Goodrem, Missy Higgins and Grinspoon. The studio on the NSW Central Coast was purchased by the Hillsong artist for $2.2m.

Sun Herald 06/02/2005 No link to the website as Fairfax want me to subscribe. This is from the newspaper itself.

Now I have no problem persay with Christians being rich and nor do I have a problem with ministers and pastors being paid for their profession (in fact we are supposed to support our ministers finacially, it's prudent and commendable) but something screams "not quite right" when someone like Darlene Zschech just happens to have $2m to throw around like this.
I then happen to go trouncing through Hillsong's own website to find this lovely gem...

In February, we will capture the high praises and worship of our God and cut it into a new album, and our love affair with God will travel to the far reaches of the earth… and in March, we get to host "our nation and beyond" with the Colour Conference. The Spirit of God will draw women from far and wide, so be praying as we get to host and carry this moment.
We love you! Be blessed! Be amazing for Jesus! And let's prove to anyone watching that God is definitely alive, well and working His magnificent plan on the earth!
- Their own website.

From The Hillsong Website

and cut it into a new album? What's wrong here? CD Sales? I ask you. A look into the ARIA charts reveals this...

The Hillsong Church album 'For All You've Done' marks the first time in Australian chart history that a Christian recording artist has held the No. 1 position in this country.

Australian Record Industry Association

Now who is buying these CDs? Well it certainly isn't the general public. Historically Christian music is taken to be a bit of a joke, and in a world that is so anti God and religion, the only people who logically would have bought the disc are Christians themselves or those on the fringes of the realm.

Even Brian Houston as pastor of Hillsong published a book in 1990 called "You Need More Money: Discovering God's amazing financial plan for your life." It smacks more of profiteering from Christians than applied teaching.

Paul was shipwrecked twice, beaten several times and thrown in prison many times. Somehow I think I should follow the example of Paul rather than Hillsong. I admit when it comes to actual pain and hardship, I pale in comparison but I found this in Phillipians 1 which is just staggering...

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. - Phillipians 1:15-18

I still don't think that the gospel should be used to turn a buck though.

1 comment:

Gary said...

it's a bit hard to know here. they get a lot of "youff" waiting for their "fix" for the week and then what... I found the sermons if you call them that a little bit thin.

u'd think with all this money they have that they'd send out missios, but I don't think they do, either overseas or within Oz

they do seem awful commercial