Now you see her, now you don’t.

For being prominent figures in Christianity, you would think that Brian Houston, Bobbie Houston, and their children would live godly lives and set the example for other Christians to follow, as is Biblical for a pastor and his family to do. If you think the Houstons are people of Biblical integrity, you are sadly mistaken and need to read your Bibles and compare their teachings, and lives, to Scripture’s standards.

Take for example, this instagram photo that was deleted after several people called out Esther Houston on Selena Gomez’ lack of attire and facial expression, in this picture? Esther Houston is pictured next to Selena, apparently unable to “live without you guys”.

Deleted picture 1

Do you think this could cause Christians to stumble?

Here is a comment by natasha_hilburn that was attached to the deleted instagram photo above:

Comment 1

Do you agree with natasha_hilburn? If you do, then apparently  you would be considered a “close minded Bible believing hater”. Although we can no longer demonstrate because the image was later deleted, there were many hateful comments against natasha_hilburn and her very observant  biblical admonition. The majority to those commenting had no problem at all with the thoroughly inappropriate content initially posted then deleted. We would like to encourage and thank  natasha_hilburn for her boldness, courage and concern for those who would call themselves shepherds of God’s precious flock.

Here is the alternative picture Esther Houston posted after receiving backlash?

More decent picture

Source: By Esther Houston, What a crew. LITerally, instagram,, Published 31/12/2015. (Accessed 03/01/2016.)

Notice there was no apology for causing others to stumble, and no accountability for Esther Houston’s carelessness. Instead, the evidence vanished in the blink of an eye and was seemingly replaced by one more appropriate..

Of course, Esther Houston also posts very strange pictures of herself like this on her Instagram feed. We ask the question – is this the sort of image we need to see, by the wife of a high-profile pastor?

Esther in a box 1

Esther in a box 2

Source: By Esther Houston, That casual moment when you get stuck in a giant box., instagram,, Published 02/11/2015. (Accessed 04/01/2016.)

It’s sad and disturbing that neither Brian nor Bobbie Houston have publicly called out their children for engaging in, and promoting this self-indulgent narcissistic lifestyle.

Categories: Hillsong

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35 replies

  1. It is hard to believe any so-called pastor’s family behaves in this manner.

    Another indication that these are the end times we are living in.

  2. The “how dare you bring their family into it” outrage line forms to the left, probably. Been there. The fact is, the general ungodliness with which many christian celebrities raise their own children is systemic of the problems within their own ministry and more times than not, it certainly is relevant.

  3. Isn’t she just the coolest? I just adore how the pink bottoms of her shoes match her pink top…not even a scuff mark.

    Sarcasm, folks. In the world and of the world. One can’t conceal what’s in the heart…eventually its going to manifest itself.

  4. The houstons are all about the looks, glam and glitter.

    They have nothing to do with the Bible.

  5. Hillsong’s ‘freedom in Christ’ producing fruit! When I was at Hillsong the message ‘come as you are’ was and still is being pushed, only problem was that people stayed as they were.

  6. Warning: Mature audience post.

    n my years BC (before Christ) I became very fond of foreign, avant garde movies and books. Over time the more challenging, the darker, the more controversial type I watched the more “enlightened” I believed I was.

    I thought I was breaking free from the shackles of old-fashioned and repressive upbringing and schooling. It was after a particularly bad book (it had been banned until 20th century) I was shocked at how well I understood the role of predator. I think now that God used that experience to shock me awake at how perverted my thought processes were becoming.That pose brought back memories of sadomasochistic practices endorsed by the author. I will expand no further.

    It greatly distresses and alarms me that a wife of a Christian pastor either has no insight into how bad that looks, or simply does not care. If that photo is not a selfie then big IF – the husband took it, that makes it 100 times worse.

    Not all Christians have a squeaky clean upbringing or a “vanilla variety” sin history. Praise God that He broke me free from that particular type of sin years ago, but I will always have “the battle scars” from having embraced that sin. I will always have to avoid certain styles of movie to avoid remembering scenes from that book.

    Can *any* leader from Hillsong comprehend that photo may have stirred up sinful desires in brothers AND sisters-in-Christ? With power comes responsibility. YOU as “shepherds of the flock” are supposed to be looking *AFTER* “the sheep”, not getting the sheep to look *AT* you/ your wife/ your family members.

    Are Hillsong “top ranking” leaders ever going to grow up?

  7. I think it is very close to harassment when people start criticizing a post of some well known profile’s kid regardless if what they post is inapropriate or not. Maybe with the rare exception when something illegal has happened.
    I bet the original share was intended to a smaller group of people as well.
    Would you like your kids to get shared and critizised like this if they happen to do something you didn’t expect?

    • Iwonder – Esther Houston is the wife of Joel Houston who pastors at Hillsong New York along with Carl Lentz. She has 188k followers on Instagram. Do you seriously think it was intended to be shared with a “smaller” group?

    • I just don’t understand how this post will glorify God.
      I mean she’s done something questionable and now what? We’re so much better than her so let’s declare it to the whole world how loathsome her actions are and we’re just so much better innocent people *nudge*nuge*
      On a personal note I can tell that I’ve been in similar situations before, probably even worse, which I totally stand against today so I’m not going to pretend that I’m any better than her.

      In this case, as I see it, she posted a few pictures from some close-knit social gathering.
      Apparently she’s already got correction from what I assume are loving members of her congregation or close friends which caused her to remove the post so why should we rub it in her face more than necessary?
      If she has thought again and decided to remove it, it could very well be God himself who convinced her, through her friends, of her wrongdoing and in that case I think we as christians should leave it and let God decide if it is a releveant matter to take up in the judgement seat of Christ.

      I agree with tons of posts you’ve done before though. Exposing erroneous doctrine and take a step back and put up a big warning sign because that actually turns people away from God.

      Keep exposing erroneous doctrine because that’s great! 🙂
      But please try to avoid picking on individuals.

    • 1. It is against Hillsong law to question or ‘correct’ a Hillsong pastor/leader/celebrity.
      2. They only remove material if they receive enough criticism (otherwise they attribute their worldiness to divine blessing and success).
      3. Sins, stunts and stumblers like this are the natural result of depraved indidividuals who do not care about God and His Word.
      4. There is no sign of “bearing fruit in keeping with repentance” in Hillsong. Instead they just cover it up.
      5. It is impossible to separate an doctrine from an individual. Even if we addressed an individuals doctrine, it is still exposing the sin of their heart, mind and being. Even Christ and His apostles didn’t use this approach when dealing with public sins.

    • churchwatcher:
      Ok, they have a strange doctrine, which you just made very clear in your bulletpoints.
      Actually great questions to ask their leadership.

      Listen, I am all for your analysis against the mismanaged, apostate, moneyhugging and totally worldly church(es) and think that you do great work to expose these matters.
      It’s just the case about this post we’re discussing. The post itself neither brings anyone to heresy nor apostasy if they happen to see it while their offical evil and depraved videos and sermons from their official meetings actually leads people astray. That’s the main difference as I see it.

      I’m not after you to criticize your work, it’s great!
      And I’m not trying to defend the actions in the post, it’s just that it feels a bit too much to attack their personal life instead of just keeping the message as clear and simple as you usually do.

      The only exception I would make is if someone publicly states and condemns something which he/she indulges herself/himself in private like Ted Haggard.

    • Iwonder – Thanks for your ongoing thoughtful comments.

      A question or two – do you think pastors should be held to a higher standard? Given how much some of them take advantage of technology these days, they seem to have no problem indulging some sort of narcissistic need for the whole world to be made aware of every detail of their private lives, (at the same time quite willing to boast about the number of “followers” they have).

      And the fact that Esther Houghton is represented as holding the (unbiblical) office of lead pastor, is her own well-documented very public instagram profile really “personal”?

    • I do think that they should have some higher standards. That is sound biblical doctrine. But demanding they’re perfect is too much though. Just think about the case where Paul publicly rebuked Peter regarding the issue related to circumcision.
      The criticism was actually well founded but I have a hard time to imagine that anybody in a relevant position was even remotely thinking about questioning Peter’s calling for that issue.

      I have to add a note here though. It’s not a comparison to the case here since this is like many orders of magnitude worse.

      The matter of female pastors is a good one as well and I personally believe that it’s a biblical sound doctrine as well contrary to like 95% of both the opinions and how they handle it in the churches today. It can be openly debated and discussed of course but I think that the biblical view of the matter is still relevant.

      I can see your points and in some respect they’re indirectly validating your repost here. But it’s not that way the repost was formulated to begin with. At least the title and the text to this repost was not directly related to these matters.
      But they’re good questions. Maybe ask the questions:
      “What are your opinions in hillsong about female pastors and how do you relate it to the biblical perspective?”
      “Do you put higher standards on people in leader positions? The reason we ask the question is that we are of the opinion that certain unnamed individuals seems to lack the fruit thereof.”

      I can almost guarantee that they will refuse to answer any of them though.

    • The issue we are emphatically driving is that Hillsong is fully displayingh contempt and disregard for the bible when they put on display such biblical ignorance and juvenile antics.

      While it is true that no one is perfect, Hillsong continually force down every other person and church’s throat that they are leading the way in what it means to be a truly successful Christian church.

      The fact that they parade themselves continually as a paragon to imitate gives EVERYONE a very good reason to scrutinise how leaders such as Esther Houston behave. Contrast Hillsong”s leadership behaviour with, for example, a more conservative church that Hillsong would accuse of being “dead”, “traditional,” “religious” and “Pharisaical”: John MacArthur’s church. Would you see the pastors wives posting such material on their instagram?

      The thought would not even cross their mind!

      Lastly, IWonder, God doesn’t allow “opinions” and “discussion” or any questions on women pastors. God finished that discussion when the Pauline letters were penned. He made his answer very clear.

    • You know, I totally agree with your conclusion about hillsong. An apostate church who embraces the world and as a big “surprise” (not!) worldly people love it and flock to it. Success = big numbers = big buck$.
      There are tons of other congregations as well now who are in deception in other ways. I think we’re actually witnessing the great falling away from the faith right now as it’s described in 2 Thessalonians 2.

      I agree that discussions and opinions are kinda worthless in this case except that it will prove that they twist scripture or relate to humanism to get their doctrine right. Which proves that they are not living in the light.
      I believe it is allowed to ask God questions about almost anything though. It’s just that some who ask the questions do not always like the answers they get as described in 2 Timothy 4:3-4

    • I wonder if Joel Houston is proud of his wife in such position for ALL the world to see??.VERY SAD.

    • “I wonder if Joel Houston is proud of his wife in such position for ALL the world to see??.VERY SAD.”

      Taking it even a step further, I am even wondering if Joel Houston ENCOURAGES her to do this kind of behavior. It could have even been that he was the one who snapped the picture of her in that box.

    • In your opinion, exactly *how old* does a fully “compos mentis”*, (allegedly) Christian kid/ spouse of kid of well-known religious leaders have to be before critics have the right to criticize that kid/spouse of kid’s OWN personal choices? 18? 30? 50? 100?

      Would you have different expectations if they were less famous?

    • This has not to do with age. The reason it’s posted here is primarily based on the fact that she’s connected to Brian and Bobby Houston.
      You know that in general there have existed very many God fearing people who unfortunately might have had a kid or two who decided to do things differently than themselves to their grieving hearts. This does not necessarily testify how “bad” that parent was, nor that it’s a result of that person’s teaching, but it could simply be based on bad judgement from the son/daughter of that person.
      I’m not claiming this is the case here but I just say that we better leave these matters and focus on more relevant subjects instead. We all are sinners and we all have garbage in our lives that we’re working on.
      I repent of my sins which God exposes and ask for forgiveness and then move on.

    • “I repent of my sins which God exposes and ask for forgiveness and then move on.”

      No repentance is noticeable in Esther Houston’s actions nor attitude. Yet her ability to drag down a platfrorm of tens of thousands with her by giving the impression “this is okay” remains intact. That is where the danger is, she has too much influence and too much credibility. It encourages the wrong kind of behavior, and gives a poor impression of Christianity.

    • Draper: I take it you’re somewhat right, after all I’m not here to defend her behaviour.
      However I think that if someone posts something and then removes it after clear proof of correction then maybe that should be set aside.

    • Iwonder, you already know that once a person or family is famous enough, they are under scrutiny from outsiders:

      * whether royalty or commoner
      * old money or nouveau riche
      *, wealth via hard work or pure luck e.g. huge lottery win
      * atheist, Christian, or any other belief system
      * born into wealthy family or married into one

      In the 21st century with power or fame comes responsibility. That’s now part of the package whether they like it or not. She is (supposed to be) a grownup. She either chose to put that instagram online or gave her consent.

      Atheists STILL expect higher standards of behaviour and morals from Christians. Atheists call Christians who do this type of stunt absolute hypocrites.

      I genuinely hope that when she realises how careless she was with that photo that she repents – full METANOIA – 180 degree turned from sin, turns to please God. Time will tell whether the removal of picture was due to change of heart because her photos will become God-glorifying, not self-glorifying.

      If it happened courtesy of negative attention from Hillsong’s “meanie critics” hopefully at least some *long-term* good will come from it and ALL family member photos will be toned down at least a notch or two.

    • thinker:
      You are right. That is how the world works but we are set to be separate from the world and not partakers of their actions. Even if I agree that this or that person might have done something questionable it doesn’t make it right to speak in public about it. At least that’s my opinion. Speaking openly about their total lack of discernment in their official meetings is a different matter though because that might get someone stuck in heresy/apostasy while watching a instagram post from a person does not.

    • Iwonder, the apostle Paul in Galatians chapter 2 rebuked the apostle Peter for setting a poor personal standard. See

      Peter was not teaching the doctrine of legalism, but his *behaviour* demonstrated some bowing to the pressure of some Jewish converts who still believed circumcision + faith = salvation (not faith alone in Christ alone as Protestants put it). If Peter had not been publicly rebuked for the (poor) *example* he was setting, the early Christians would have *believed as a result of Peter’s practices* the Legalistic converts’ teachings, not the true Gospel.

      This is not an isolated event from a Hillsong representative. There is a general pattern of the polar opposite behaviour of legalism called licentiousness. Poor moral example/s from similar church leaders (of any rank) can lead to beliefs that anything is permitted, including remaining in pre-conversion sin patterns “as long as you believe in Jesus (of any variety)”. Church history has many tragic examples e.g. strands of Gnosticism.

      Why shouldn’t 21st century Christians follow the apostle Paul’s example- and many other Christian apologists throughout church history – and hold self-proclaimed church leaders for their practices as well as theories?

      She is setting un-discerning Christians a poor example online, therefore she should be exposed in public. Anyway, do you seriously think any average person would be let anywhere near her/ Hillsong top leaders to give a private (*translation* unimportant to Hillsong) message of any variety?

    • “Would you like your kids to get shared and critizised like this if they happen to do something you didn’t expect?”

      Now for the proper context:

      Yes I DO hope my kids WOULD get criticized, if they happened to do something THE BIBLE CONDEMNS.

  8. She’s willingly and knowingly bringing a reproach upon the name of Jesus. That’s where the disdain and contempt from God’s children are coming from, in defense of Christ. I doubt her parents are the least bit embarrassed. I think concern for her and her family is misplaced, as this is not an isolated event. It serves to give a glimpse as to what is in the heart…and its not a pretty picture.

  9. I have to say I never comment on things like this but I do find it quite concerning that the main issue raised is around these inappropriate photos and yet you deem it appropriate to repost them on here. Is it any less of a stumbling block because its reposted? I think not. I am all for modesty and being mindful of perceptions especially when you are in a position of great influence but I cannot support naming and shaming others who might not be fully aware or have a revelation from God regarding this. Three words for those who feel the need to judge in such a fashion…. Grace, love, perspective

    • To Deeply Concerned:

      Esther and Joel Houston, along with with Carl and Laura Lentz, are lead pastors of Hillsong New York. This information is easily accessed on their website. Holding such a “responsible” spiritual position, do you really believe Esther Houston “might not be fully aware or have a revelation from God regarding this”? It’s as straightforward as being aware of the whole council of God found in the bible, that would suggest a so called “lead pastor” would know exactly what’s right or wrong, biblically.

      Her mother-in-law, Bobbie Houston, in acknowledging her 30th birthday, says of Esther, “…. I know that in the days ahead you will shape the way home for multitudes”.

      We pray this may be so, perhaps when she repents of her present inappropriate behaviour.

    • And as for reposting the images?

      Ephesians 5:11 “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

  10. Although I didn’t see the movie, this picture reminds me of 50 Shades of Grey! Repugnant!

  11. Am I surprised?? NO, I am not….”churches” have been replaced with GodLESSness. Who is the prince of this world?? Who is this prince and whom is he replacing? Jesus is coming back for a pure spotless bride,and satan is gathering as many as he can in his final fling….at the cross, it was not Jesus who was chosen to be released but a thief and a robber…and he still roams the earth, seeking whom he may devour.

  12. When your doctrine is corrupted, your conduct will be corrupted, when your conduct is corrupted, your character will be corrupted–your character is a result of your conduct.
    This is the blind leading the blind!

  13. Wow how judgemental are you guys. Not one person has mentioned her day job as a model & of obviously, instagram is a platform for showcasing her beauty. It is both branding & advertising, she was a model before she was a pastors wife. She just needs to get the balance right on her page for scouts who are headhunting her & her Christian followers. People need to be more open minded & not so cold & distant .

    • What is appalling with people like you is that Christ and His Apostles told Christians to WATCH OUT and EXPEL the wicked from among them. By your definition, they started the “headhunting.” Have you no shame?

  14. How is this different than the world? =(

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