Hillsong church senior pastor Brian Houston.
Hillsong church senior pastor Brian Houston.

Hillsong pastor Brian Houston denies gay marriage support

THE Australian leader of the Hillsong megachurch has been forced to clarify his position on gays after being attacked by Christians for supporting homosexuality.

Brian Houston was quoted widely in gay and mainstream media reports saying that gays and lesbians should be welcomed in the church.

'The one elephant in the room for churches around the world at the moment is the gay situation,' Pastor Houston says in a message broadcast to his churches last month.

'What would Jesus do? You need to pray for church pastors and leaders around the world because whichever way you turn the [gay issue] is there. You can turn one way and you can tell there would be a great scandal amongst the Christian Church.

'You can turn another way and you would just cut off so many people. There's lots of hatred out there but in the middle of it all you know there are three things: the world of the times we live in; the weight we live with; and the word we live by.'

Pastor Houston said that Christians had to live with the fact that societies were choosing to embrace things that were outside church teaching when it came to same-sex relationships.

'The world has changed quickly,' he said.

He was also asked about the issue at a recent New York press conference.

But after copping a barrage of criticism online from Christians who accused him of undermining a biblical view on homosexuality, Ps Houston released a statement via Hillsong's website over the weekend.

"I encourage people not to assume a media headline accurately represents what I said at a recent press conference,'' the statement said.

"Nowhere in my answer did I diminish biblical truth or suggest that I or Hillsong Church supported gay marriage.
" I challenge people to read what I actually said, rather than what was reported that I said.

"My personal view on the subject of homosexuality would line up with most traditionally held Christian views. I believe the writings of Paul are clear on this subject.

"I was asked a question on how the church can stay relevant in the context of gay marriage being legal in the two states of the USA where we have campuses.

"My answer was simply an admission of reality - no more and no less. I explained that this struggle for relevance was vexing as we did not want to become ostracized by a world that needs Christ.

"I made the point that public statements condemning people will place a barrier between the church and the world (and I note that Jesus came to save and not to condemn), which is why at Hillsong, we don't want to reduce the real issues in people's lives to a sound bite.''

"This - like many other issues, is a conversation the church needs to have and we are all on a journey as we grapple with the question of merging biblical truth with a changing world.''

PsHouston has been in the headlines after he testified he did not report allegations his preacher father abused a child to police because he did not want to pre-empt the victim.

He told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse how Hillsong's general manager informed him of the accusations against his father William Francis "Frank" Houston.

The commission heard the victim's mother made the allegations to a pastor decades after it occurred.
But he said if the victim was still a child he would have reported the allegations to police immediately.