Evangelical expert weighs in on church's brink of collapse following leader's resignation over 'inappropriate' behavior

Evangelical expert weighs in on church's brink of collapse following leader's resignation over 'inappropriate' behavior
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The Hillsong evangelical empire is reportedly at an impasse following its founder's decision to step down after an internal church investigation determined he'd engaged in "inappropriate" relations with two women.

According to Raw Story, the church's founder Brian Houston is at the center of controversy as a result of "accusations and a criminal change in January that he concealed 'child sexual abuse committed by his late father, who was also a pastor.'"

Ed Stetzer with the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center has weighed in on the nationwide shift occurring in the evangelical world. Stetzer "claimed the collapse of Hillsong was 'a very big deal' that 'will have ramifications not just for Hillsong, but for contemporary evangelism around the world.'"

According to Stetzer, "I can’t think of a church in the English-speaking Western world with as broad a global reach as Hillsong."

Stetzer's remarks come as nine out of 16 of the churches have severed ties with the evangelical network.

Per The New York Times:

"Justin Bieber and the N.B.A. star Kevin Durant attended services; one of the church’s worship bands won a Grammy Award and the church produced soaring anthems that became staples in smaller churches that imitated its sounds, style, and Instagram-friendly aesthetic. Now, Hillsong’s U.S. presence is in collapse. Its remaining U.S. locations are in the Northeast and in California, meaning Hillsong no longer has a major presence between the coasts."

On Sunday, March 29, Terry Crist shared the latest developments with his followers. "We cannot continue in our global family, as much as we love it,” before adding "I am heartbroken."

The Times also reported:

"For Mr. Crist, leaving Hillsong was the culmination of several years of doubts about the institution," The Times reported. "He objected a few years ago, he said, when a global church restructuring disbanded his board of local leaders and put him directly under the authority of the Australia-based global board. And he bristled when he and other lead pastors were asked to sign non-compete and non-disparagement agreements in the wake of the scandal in the East Coast branches. He never signed"


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