Statement from Pastor Brian Houston, Hillsong Church
After personal interaction with Mark Driscoll today, we have agreed that he will no longer be coming to Australia or the UK to attend Hillsong Conference. It is my hope that Mark and I will be able to speak in person in the coming weeks to discuss some of the issues that have been raised, what – if anything – he has learned, and for me to understand better how he is progressing in both his personal and professional life.
The teachings of Christ are based on love and forgiveness, and I will not write off Mark as a person simply because of the things that people have said about him, a small minority of people signing a petition or statements he has made many years ago for which he has since repeatedly apologised.
However, I do not want unnecessary distractions during our conference, particularly as this 30 minute interview was only a small part of this five day event. It was clear to me that Mark’s attendance had the potential to divert attention from the real purpose of Hillsong Conference, which is to see people leave encouraged in their own spiritual journey.
Clearly Mark has held some views and made some statements that cannot be defended. One or two of the more outrageous things he is purported to have said, I have heard for the first time through the media exposure over the past week.
Driscoll’s picture is still on the conference website.
Houston does not emerge from this mess without suffering damage to his public image. It is beyond clear that this move was done to save face and was a reaction to the negative publicity. His statement seems full of contradiction. He will not write off Driscoll, he says, because of statements he made many years ago or a petition, but those are the exact reasons for the bad publicity in Australia.
He refers to the “outrageous things” Driscoll said as things Driscoll was “purported to have said.” However, earlier in the statement, Houston said he wouldn’t write Driscoll off due to “statements he has made many years ago for which he has since repeatedly apologised.” If Rev. Houston is not even sure Driscoll made these outrageous statements, how does Houston know Driscoll has “repeatedly apologized” for them? All of this is very easy to verify and we now know that Houston and Driscoll talked. Are we to believe he didn’t ask Driscoll about it?
If he did say that? That is a stunning lack of homework Rev. Houston.