Hillsong Church has issued a statement in the wake of the controversy following Chris Pratt’s appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. On February 14, Hillsong posted on its website, saying,
Hillsong Church does not preach against anyone or any group; we are not ‘anti-anyone.’ We are an inclusive Christian church that loves, values and welcomes all people, regardless of their background, ethnicity, beliefs, values, or personal identity.
How It Began
Hillsong is responding to recent charges in the media that it is anti-LGBTQ. The accusations started with Chris Pratt’s interview with Stephen Colbert, where the actor mentioned that he’d recently done the Daniel Fast and also mentioned his church several times. After the interview, actress Ellen Page, an LGBTQ advocate, posted several tweets in which she said that Pratt’s church is “infamously anti lgbtq” and questioned why Pratt would support an organization that discriminates against a certain group of people.
Pratt responded in an Instagram story, defending his church and his beliefs. He said that his church welcomes all people and was very supportive of him during his recent divorce. The actor also said that his values, not his church, define him and that his primary value (modeled after Jesus) is love.
Despite the fact that Pratt attends Zoe Church in Los Angeles, media outlets were quick to tie his church to Hillsong, seemingly because of an interview with the New York Times. In the interview, Zoe Church’s pastor, Chad Veach, said his church was modeled after Hillsong.
What Does Hillsong Believe?
Hillsong’s founder, Brian Houston, stated in a 2015 post that he and Hillsong believe that marriage should only be between one man and one woman. However, they recognized that people have the right to make their own choices and welcome all, no matter what their decisions are. Houston and Hillsong reaffirmed this position in 2017 when the people of Australia (where Hillsong Church started) voted to tell the government their opinions on whether or not same-sex marriage should be legal.
It is comments like these and Zoe Church’s supposed ties to Hillsong that have generated so much media buzz. The connection between the two churches is tenuous at best, but the attention has compelled Hillsong to release its newest statement clarifying its position.
In addition to asserting that Hillsong is not “anti” any group, yesterday’s post states that Brian Houston has never at any point promoted gay conversion therapy. The writers say they want the church to be known for what it is “for,” namely to see people find their hope in Jesus and find help, love and acceptance. While the statement does not say explicitly that homosexuality is a sin, it does say,
We are also a church that adheres to mainstream biblical values shared by the overwhelming majority of evangelical Christian churches around the world, and millions of Christians across the USA. Believing the teachings of the Bible and loving all people—including those who have different perspectives—are not mutually exclusive. In fact this is the very definition of tolerance and inclusiveness.