Mario Murillo: Permission to Treat Hillsong Church as a ‘Hostile Witness’


International evangelist Mario Murillo weighs in on the recent controversy swirling Hillsong Church in this guest post here on TRUNEWS.
I posted the article from TruNews entitled Why the Hillsong ‘Dancing Naked Cowboy’ Story Matters. Now I want to speak for myself.
Someone says to a lawyer, “I have evidence that can convict the murderer.” The attorney arranges it so that this witness can testify in court. However, something happens when the witness actually takes the stand. Suddenly they can’t remember, or they contradict earlier testimony.
Now instead of helping the case, they are damaging it. To combat this damage the attorney can ask the judge for help. The attorney asks the judge for permission to treat the witness as hostile. This grants the lawyer power to ask leading questions.
Leading questions either suggest the answer (“You saw my client sign the contract, correct?”) or challenge (impeach) the witness’ testimony. As a rule, leading questions are generally only allowed during cross-examination, but a hostile witness is an exception to this rule.
I am treating the idea of doing a naked cowboy bit as a hostile witness. I am saying it does more harm than good. How can I justify such a statement?! It is a very good question. I am doing it for the very same reason that any attorney would to save his client:
A church is a witness sent by God. If in the process of calling themselves a church, they begin to damage the cause that they vowed to represent—if in their evolution they begin to be a witness for the other side—then they are indeed a hostile witness.
Rational ministers then have a right to ask leading questions. Why is a church so long on art and so short on truth? What is the end game of a naked cowboy bit in a women’s conference? I mean beyond getting attention? Why are you having to do a press conference every few months to clear the air on some bizarre action by your staff? So what if you get a big crowd…when do they become disciples and how do these antics turn a wicked culture to God?
To the thousands of pastors slugging it out—who have sacrificed to be a wall of fire against immorality this is a major slap in the face. That is why I call them a hostile witness. Furthermore, this emboldens the idea that shock-jock tactics are justified if you want a crowd.
I treat them as a hostile witness because this particular brand of compromise enforces a hideous lie. It is the lie that the Gospel is inherently unacceptable to the culture and therefore must be diluted, rebranded and packaged in a form that the world already likes. This lie has allowed us to win meaningless skirmishes while losing a generation.
And don’t try to tell me about your tolerance. Just as liberals will drop the race card anytime someone says something valid against them so do these mega pastors drop the legalism card every time a decent question is raised, i.e. “you’re just being religious.”
If this blog only pointed out fault and offered no constructive alternative it would be as bad as the issue it raises.
There is plenty of fault on the other side of the church—the church that is content to spout trite condemnation to a sinning society. God wants creative juices to flow in the church. He wants a fresh approach that is compelling and anchored in Bible truth. So what is the answer?
In the constant strain to find the right message preachers are mostly divided into two camps.
1. Those who believe you should tell the people what they want to hear.
2. Those who believe that you should tell the people what they need to hear.
Those in the “we tell people what they need to hear” often boast, “We are not into entertainment in our church.” The dictionary defines entertainment as “holding an audience’s attention.” Some pastors who claim not to “be into entertainment” do not know how right they are.
I believe that both of these positions lack something critical. In fact, I believe that Jesus practiced something that transcended both of these positions: He told people what they needed to hear and made them want to hear it.
No one embodied this more than Dr. Billy Graham. His messages were teeming with subjects that society did not want to hear and yet millions hung on his simple words and obeyed his clear appeal.
Preaching is easy if you do not need to do it right. Even entertaining preaching is a snap if you are willing to offer up your integrity on the altar of trends. But the preaching that pierces the lies of your time and makes disciples out of fallen men asks a far greater price than most modern ministers may be willing to pay.
Here are some simple points about reaching the lost in these dark times.
1. You will never reach a city that you cannot weep over. Tears over the plight of a community are essential to doing a great work in that community. Even if you somehow get a crowd through hard work and technique it will not be a deep or lasting impact without God given compassion.
2. You can tell the truth without love but you cannot love without telling the truth.The real reason you never get around to calling sin, sin is that you do not love the audience enough. I know men so caught up in church growth that people are nothing but numbers to them. They would rather hold on to them than help them. Paul said in Acts 20: 20 “how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house.” The best preaching in the world has come from hearts that burned with love for their audience.
3. There are no short cuts to becoming an effective communicator. God requires us to understand the laws of public speaking.
We would not give a second thought to a preacher wanting to know the laws of grammar. Good grammar makes writing something you can read and retain. Why wouldn’t we do the same thing for speaking an audience that we care about?
We can learn from Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and John Kennedy and yes Ronald Reagan. But having learned it we must—like Paul–subdue it to the fire of the Holy Ghost.
I am convinced that our overdependence on music is directly related to the minister’s lack of confidence in their preaching.
4. You must have a right relationship with the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit.
It is not our place to overrule God’s method to verify the Gospel. He has chosen miracles, signs and wonders to do this. For us to impede the gifts of the Spirit is to rob God of His chosen confirmation of truth.
Finding out how you will operate in miracle power is not as important as finding out that you must operate in miracle power. Once you are convicted of its utter necessity, the means for you to express it will inevitably appear.
The supernatural power of God will deliver us from tricks and sad imitations of Broadway. We will never outdo Andrew Lloyd Webber but we can shine on a level the world cannot approach with the presence and glory of Jesus Himself.
The Pulpit commentary—not known for being Pentecostal says this—“And what we need, as the sustaining spirit of all work, is the conviction that Christ has given his Church power to heal and to cure diseases.

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1 comment

    • greg nicholson on September 27, 2020 at 11:46 am

    A friend of mine (years ago), got a Word of discernment for Benny Hinn (whom I love and respect). “He was to take a back seat to the move of God” (upcoming move).
    For Mario, I think he has a choice also, where is he to fit in?……certainly people 20 years his senior will anointedly grab the mic in this hour <~~indispensable testimony will come from people even over a 100 years old (to this there is no doubt)!
    Benny is not lost, neither is Mario. They know the power of God!
    The Lord will raise up David's (checkout Bevelyn Beatty)…..not exclusively, but predominately, God will use the young (like David)…he always has!.. .I am 61, and bowed out of visible Christianity during the false revivals (1991).I met a group of 'Come outers'. Just hidden and under judgment/refiners fire (including me)………right?……. a poignant and gifted cluster of unsubmissive's, that might pan out (just like visible Christianity).
    I prefer the come outers, but they think their better (and they might be) , they are haughty…….they fraction into newer and smaller groups all the time (lots of false prophets and they know it)….Mario, your an adviser to David. Like Benny………please chose this low seat….I will……..I would never get out in front of David and I am convinced that Benny won't!

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