Although our earlier investigative reports have pointed out that Brian Houston indeed attempted to cover up the crimes of his paedophile father, we have not presented the findings and testimonies of those at the Royal Commission which revealed Brian Houston and Hillsong leadership protected Frank Houston’s ministry from the outcome of the Australian AOG National Executive meeting.
BRIAN HOUSTON’S NUMBER 1 PRIORITY: PROTECTING HIS FATHER AND HILLSONG – NOT AOG
As president of the AOG, Brian Houston did not follow AOG policy and procedures regarding allegations against his father being a pedophile. So what ‘procedures’ did Brian follow?
In his book, ‘Live Love Lead’ (and at the Royal Commission), Brian Houston represents himself as a hero and victim doing his best to navigate this difficult time. However, Hillsong elder and General Manager George Aghajanian, seems to suggest that Brian Houston followed a format in relation to Hillsong policy and procedures.
At the Royal Commission in 2014, Hillsong elder George Aghajanian was asked by Mr Beckett about Hillsong’s current discipline and termination policy,:
“My question to you is not so much how those matters come to you or, indeed, to the pastoral care head, but what happens after they have come to you? […] If the matter relates to a member of staff and it has not been referred to the police, how is it dealt with within Hillsong Church?”
This was Aghajanian’s response:
While this is now something that Hillsong supposedly has in place, this appears to be the template that Brian Houston and George Aghajanian used to deal with ‘staff member’, Frank Houston.
If we place the offender Frank Houston in this position, this is what Aghajanian said was Hillsong policy:
- To suspend member immediately. (Frank Houston)
- Collate the facts
- Then collate facts from suspended staff member (Frank Houston)
- Staff member (Frank Houston) to be with co-worker at second meeting
- Present findings and what the actions are to be
- Conclusion of meeting ranges from termination to probation depending on the nature of their offense,
This is what happened:
- Mudford contacted Hillsong leadership regarding pedophile allegations against Frank Houston
- Aghajanian told Brian Houston while Frank was overseas – so Frank’s suspension was not immediate.
- Brian Houston collated the facts (Aghajanian claims he also investigated), ready to meet with his father
- Brian Houston (a co-worker with his father) presented the facts to his father, as a result Frank confessed (not written) – but no facts were collated and recorded of what was said in this meeting.
- Nevertheless, Brian put Frank on suspension, thus probation, moving him to Ian Woods’ church.
- Evidence from the Royal Commission suggests Frank Houston was never terminated.
Regarding point 3, Brian Houston provided additional information in his book ‘Live Love Lead’ that he neglected to give at the Royal Commission. He allowed ‘The Australian’ to publish an excerpt from his book where Brian Houston stated,
“My father was overseas at the time, which gave me time to seek more information in preparation for the hardest conversation I’ve ever had. Soon after his return, he came into my office for what he thought was a routine meeting. I tried to stay calm as I outlined to him the call we’d had. As he listened, he seemed to age before my eyes. When I’d finished talking there was a long pause, and then he began to speak, his mouth going dry. He admitted that yes, the accusation was true.”
Source: Brian Houston, Hillsong’s Brian Houston: My father, the child sex criminal, The Australian, https://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/weekend-australian-magazine/hillsongs-brian-houston-my-father-the-child-sex-criminal/news-story/1152a3c988e76759170b908706ea7c02, Published June 20, 2015. (Accessed June 21, 2015.)
Why did Brian Houston leave this out in his submission to the Royal Commission? And what did Frank Houston’s ‘suspension/probation’ look like? For a long and thorough answer, see ‘Timeline and Source Material‘.
Frank Houston’s ‘suspension/probation’ was used as a cover-up, moving Frank Houston away from Hillsong (thus protecting the Hillsong brand) to Ian Woods’ church, Frank being under Ian Wood’s probation:
WHEN WAS FRANK HOUSTON MOVED FROM HILLSONG/CLC?
When browsing the exhibits and transcripts of the Royal Commission, it becomes plain that:
- Frank Houston was moved prior to the AOG exec.
- Ministers were not told until 2 years later about why Frank Houston was moved.
- Although suspended and under probation, Frank Houston was still kept on Hillsong staff and allowed to retire a year later.
- The AOG policy was to move perpetrators without telling members why.
One noticeable attribute about Brian Houston at the Royal Commission (RC) was his misleading responses when questioned on anything to narrow down important details or dates. One specific example of this was when the Royal Commission attempted to quiry Brian Houston regarding when he moved his father to Hawkesbury Christian Center (HCC). Thanks to other witnesses who testified at the RC and others who have corresponded with us at CWC, we start to clarify a few things that Mr Houston was being dishonest about.
We now look at when the CLC Hawkebury move occurred and why it was important for Brian to move Frank to HCLC before the AOG Executive. Evidence suggests this action by Brian Houston was intentional to mWhen we compare AOG Policy to the above what Brian did, we see that Brian Houston chose a procedure that disrupted AOG Executive policy, thus protecting Frank’s name, reputation, ministry and status in the public eye. He did so by:
- Moving Frank first to Hawkesbury CLC (HCLC).
- Then misleading AOG executive so they could not progress with documenting a report to go public
So when did Brian move Frank to HCLC?
When examining the transcripts and exhibits at the Royal Commission, we can conclude that Frank was moved to Hawkesbury Christian Center in 1999. But when in 1999 exactly?
Brian Houston suggested at the Royal Commission that his father was moved to HCC after the Executive Meeting. This paints a picture that those in the AOG Executive were being responsible, giving the impression that a much more official announcement was to be made about Frank’s arrival to HCC. However, this does not appear to be the case at all.
One witness at HCC reported of (emphasis ours):
“(an) announcement regarding Frank Houston joining our congregation [being] made either very late 1999 or early 2000.” [Source]
This suggests that Frank Houston may have joined HCC earlier rather than just towards the end of December 2000. We believe what Brian Houston said to the Royal Commission, can narrow the time down to November 1999. This is because when Mr Kernaghan asked Brian Houston about the life-changing meeting he had with his father, this exchange occurred:
Q. That is the year 1999 that you are referring to?
A. Yes, this is in either – this, now, would be late – mid to late November 1999.
Q. As I understand your evidence yesterday, it wasn’t for quite some time until arrangements were made to clear out your father’s office; is that right?
A. Yes. He never used that office during that entire 12 months. He was actually attending a church in the Hawkesbury during that time. We had asked him, after this came through, to move on from the Hillsong Church and he was attending Ian Woods’ church in Hawkesbury, to my memory.
Day 88, pg. 9392. (Emphasis added.)
What did Brian Houston mean when he said, ‘We had asked him, after this came through, to move on from the Hillsong Church‘? Examining Mr Houston’s response to the Royal Commission, it appeared Brian Houston hoped to confuse his listeners into assuming this was not the Sydney and Hills CLC leaders making this decision to move Frank in November but the AOG Executive meeting in December.
However, Keith Ainge helped pinpoint the fact that Frank Houston was already attending HCC before the first AOG Executive meeting in December 1999.
Keith Ainge stated:
“Immediately following the meeting in 1999, I spoke with Ian Woods in relation to talking with Frank. My belief is that Frank was actually attending Ian’s church at that time, because he wasn’t attending the CLC church, and I spoke with him about the fact of Frank applying – or what would be required for him to apply to enter the restoration program. And Ian was dealing with him, counselling with him and working with him in relation to that.“
Day 88, pg. Page 9277. (Emphasis added.)
After Frank Houston confessed, Brian stated at the Royal Commission that he went to his elders and Sydney CLC elders personally and told them of Frank’s confession. It is our opinion that these elders/leaders with Brian Houston, were responsible for asking Frank Houston to move to HCC. Thanks to Ainge, we now know for certain that Sydney and Hills CLC leaders “asked [Frank], after [his meeting where he confessed to Brian] came through… [to] move on from the Hillsong Church.”
So according to Ainge, before the ‘AOG Executive meeting in December 1999’, Ian Woods was, “dealing with him, counselling with him and working with him.” This does not sound like someone was terminated, rather someone who is either suspended or on probation – just as Brian Houston and Hillsong wanted.
WHY IS MOVING FRANK HOUSTON TO HCC BEFORE AOG EXECUTIVE IMPORTANT INFORMATION?
Hillsong Church is part of the Australian AOG. If Brian moved Frank Houston to HCLC before the executive, he himself as a lone authority has essentially determined the outcome of the Executive meeting already.
Furthermore, if Hillsong moved Frank Houston to Ian Woods church in November, they would have believed they had the right to not disclose anything about Frank Houston to the HCC congregation. For instance, at the Royal Commission John McMartin explained that the AOG would encourage paedophiles to attend other churches “where there is less chance of re-offence.”
The reason McMartin might say this is because of what was written in the AOG “A Program For The Restoration and Reinstatement of Disciplined Ministers Administration Manual.” In it, the manual states that “no publication of a dismissed minister’s name, or details of his/her offence, [should] be made until all rights of appeal have expired and the State Executive has been authorised to do so by the National Executive.”
As President of the AOG, Brian authorized Frank to be under probation by the State Executive by moving him, bypassing the authority of National Executive to do so. This is incredibly important to note because in doing this, Brian had ALREADY determined the outcome of the 1999 National Executive meeting. He had effectively removed their verdict and decision-making process thus nullifying their outcome for his father’s punishment. This means that the National Executive had no choice but to, “As much as possible, the names of ministers admitted to a program of rehabilition should not be made public.”
For some reason, their State Executive Ian Woods, saw no problem with Brian Houston making this illegal move to disempower the National Executive.
Brian Houston’s premature action before the National Executive gave a very misleading and deceitful illusion of himself at the Royal Commission. He submitted in his statement to the Royal Commission (emphasis ours):
“As President of the AOG, I convened an emergency meeting of the National Executive of the AOG. The meeting took place at a room in Sydney Airport on 22 December 1999. I informed the National Executive of the AHA allegation against Frank and that Frank had admitted to me that it was true. It was a very difficult and emotional time for me. The Executive agreed at that meeting that I should be removed from dealing with this matter including the issue of Frank’s ministry credentials because of my relationship with Frank.”
It does not matter that Brian Houston chose to remove himself from the meeting or those in the meeting removed him,
Brian had already determined and acted upon the notion that Frank be under restoration through the State Executive, Ian Woods.
As it is clear Frank had no rights of appeal, it was only a matter of time before the National Executive was summoned in 1999 to publish the details of Frank’s offences.
Because Brian Houston already made the decision to move Frank to be under probation under the State Executive at Hawkesbury CLC, it appears clear in his mind that Brian did not want “all other State Executives” to “be informed that the minister has been dismissed” over paedophilia. Brian would rather “all State Executives be informed of relevant information on a confidential basis”.
Because Brian Houston had already determined the outcome of the meeting, this allowed him to spin a narrative to the AOG Executive that misrepresented the victim and other important events so that the executive could only conclude or do what he had already determined.
For instance, Houston deliberately led the Executive to believe he was the only person in contact with the victim and failed to mention Barbara Taylor’s involvement. Although Barbara Taylor specifically told Houston before the National Executive meeting that the victim was seeking legal action (Houston was aware that if this happened his father would be incarcerated), Houston informed the National Executive the victim did not want to go to the police because he was ‘fragile’.
Because Brian Houston concluded the outcome of the meeting before it was even held and managed to spin the narrative before the meeting started, this allowed Frank Houston’s crimes “not be made public,” thus why no one at Hawkebury knew why Frank Houston started attending there.
CAN WE SEE EVIDENCE OF THIS TO BE TRUE, AFTER THE MEETING?
The outcome of the AOG Executive meeting is evidence of the move. As revealed at the Royal Commission through the testimony of Keith Ainge, the case between AHA and Frank Houston was dealt with only once at the AOG Executive meeting in December 1999 and was never to be addressed again.
That single meeting was to supposedly resolve all the issues.
So what happened after the meeting? When we read the above quote from the Administration Manual, this clarifies the actions of Hillsong/CLC as to why they were trying to move Sr. Houston away from their empire before the National Executive meeting published their findings on Frank Houston. If the AOG Executive meeting decided afterwards to move Frank to Ian Woods’ church, then they were bound by policy to explain the reasons why he was there.
Brian Houston and CLC/Hillsong leadership made sure this did not happen.
This explains when Brian Houston was the sole investigator of his father’s paedophilia between November to December and why he produced no official publications on his father before the Royal Commission. There was a good chance that whatever Brian Houston had officially recorded was going to incriminate his father after that AOG National Executive meeting. This also explains why there was no official documentation of a report or even a written confession from his father.
This means Brian Houston left the AOG powerless in regards to his father. It appeared that because the AOG Executive could not follow policy due to what Brian Houston failed to produce, the only way forward they could see, was to leave Frank Houston at Hawkesbury to at least get a written confession.
Furthermore, according to the manual statement above, moving Frank Houston to another church before the National Executive meeting meant that no one in Hillsong was to state the intentions of Frank’s move.
“No publication of a dismissed minister’s name, or details of his/her offence, shall be
made until all rights of appeal have expired and the State Executive has been authorised
to do so by the National Executive.”
That is something the National Executive was supposed to do. And because of this move in November before the AOG Executive meeting, no one was allowed to say that Frank was under discipline or restoration due to lack of documented evidence of his criminal conduct. There is no evidence to suggest that Brian Houston willingly cooperated with Barbara Taylor, the victim and the National Executive to get a written confession from Frank Houston.
In fact, he seemed reluctant when this could have been achieved when he first met with Frank.
THE NAR & LATTER RAIN INFLUENCE ON HILLSONG AND ITS IMPACT ON HILLSONG LEADERSHIP’S DECISION-MAKING.
Frank Houston emerged out of the cult known as the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) and was inspired by NOLR Apostle/Prophet William Branham. In fact, Frank Houston was so inspired by Branham that he took the title of ‘Branham: A Man Sent From God’, and applied this to himself to advertise back in the 1970s that he was an Apostle/Prophet sent from New Zealand to Australia.
Because the Royal Commission only worked within their terms of reference,they were unaware the importance of the Latter Rain influence on the AOG denomination in 1977 and assumed the AOG and Hillsong today are Pentecostal.
In reality, the NOLR was condemned by true Pentecostalism in 1949 – this is because the NOLR believe God has restored Apostles and Prophets today, with these Apostles/Prophets awakening the true church to become a ‘domininist’ Joel’s Army to purge society of evil and take over the world. Unfortunately Hillsong and the AOG executive subscribe to these dangerous and fanatical NOLR beliefs. (See ChurchQuake! by NARpostle C. Peter Wagner, The Apostolic Revolution’ by NARpostle David Cartledge.)
Nevertheless, as much as these NARpostles are promoting unity with their apostolic networks, when push comes to shove they will put themselves first above others in their own network. As our readers will see below, it soon becomes apparent Brian Houston put first himself, then his church’s personal interests, above those of the AOG when it came to protecting his paedophile father. When we look at what was to happen after the AOG Executive in the AOG Policy and Procedure, Houston’s actions become clear – he controlled all the pieces on the ‘chess board’ – including his father, Hillsong elders, AOG executive, the victim and the victim’s support pastor Barbara Taylor to protect both himself and his father.
THE CONFLICT OF INTEREST BY ALL ‘APOSTLES’ ATTENDING THE AOG EXECUTIVE.
We remind our readers that Brian Houston chaired the 1999 AOG Executive meeting and then,
“… handed the chair of the meeting to someone else, then sat there as the wise men, who had so many times before
served my vision and watched my father lead, began to talk about a way forward.” [Source] [Archived]
The above statement should not have been overlooked by the Royal Commission or the police. When people submit to an ‘Apostle’, they must submit to that apostle’s ‘divine vision’. It appears that in this case, the AOG Executive were keen to submit to ‘Apostle’ Brian. Who cared about the victims or legal policy? Brian Houston was more than happy to suggest they “then sat there as the wise men, who had so many times before served my vision and watched my father lead, began to talk about a way forward.”
Brian Houston’s words proved without a shadow of a doubt that those in this meeting had a conflict of interest.
Those who were present were recorded in the Minutes of AoG Special Executive Meeting [Link]
As stated previously, those familiar with all our previous articles on Hillsong and the AOG, will be aware that they are a part of the New Apostolic Reformation. They needed to submit to the vision of ‘Apostle’ Brian Houston and attempt to keep the image of ‘Apostle’ Frank Houston intact in front of their international audience. We can say this based on the evidence of David Cartledge who was part of the decision making process in regards to Frank Houston in that AOG Executive meeting on December 1999. (As you can see above, his name was recorded in the minutes.) We’re already aware that Brian Houston had no qualms publishing a book 6 months after Frank’s confession of paedophilia, praising his father as a divine spiritual and righteous role model and father who is on par with amazing men like Charles Spurgeon.
In similar fashion, David Cartledge also published a book in June 2000, titled ‘The Apostolic Revolution’. It was published again in August 2000. This piece of literature clearly showed the inner workings of Hillsong and the Australian AOG as it demonstrated that Pentecostalism in the Australian AOG was replaced with those that held to the dangerous and unbiblical practices of the New Order of the Latter Rain (which later became the New Apostolic Reformation). This system of what they call “Apostolic Governance” makes church members, church boards and church structures accountable to its leading Apostles. In Cartledge’s work, Frank Houston is recognised globally as a ‘proven apostle.’
Although his work comes across as ‘historical’, Cartledge used Frank Houston AND Brian Houston, among others, as examples of Apostles who operated with Apostolic ministries (pg. 140). The status of ‘apostle’ means such men cannot be questioned.
Here are some excerpts from his book:
There was no disclaimer or mention in this book that Frank Houston was now disgraced or exposed as a paedophile. This is most likely because the leader of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), C. Peter Wagner, endorsed this book and prophesied that “Australia [had] the potential to become the first nation in the world to model, as a nation, the new wineskins that [God is] shaping for [His] church.” [Source]
What makes Cartledge guilty of covering up Frank’s crimes in print was the fact that he writes that Frank “handed the leadership of the church to his son Brian in 1999.” His language indicates that he was penning those words in the year 2000. This means, in that Executive meeting Cartledge not only knew that Frank was a paedophile, he chose to publish a book with the leader of the NAR’s approval (C. Peter Wagner) that covered up the true criminal nature of Frank Houston. So it’s clearly evident that ‘Apostles and Prophets’ like Cartledge had full knowledge of Frank Houston’s paedophilia but chose to hide this ‘revelation’ in printed form.
HOW WAS FRANK HOUSTON PRESENTED TO HCC?
There was no reason for an official announcement to be made in relation to the AOG Executive meeting outcome and their decision to discipline or restore Frank Houston. This was because the AOG Executive did not decide to move Frank Houston to HCC in December.
CLC/Hillsong already had.
Brian and his elders decided to move Frank Houston earlier (and hence not under a cloud of discipline… yet). This means that Hillsong did not have to present Frank Houston as a minister under probation, discipline or restoration under AOG policies or procedures or CLC/Hillsong policies and procedures. The convenient lack of commitment to their policies and procedures from both CLC/Hillsong and the AOG leading all the way to their AOG Executive meeting in December, indicates that they attempted to protect the perpetrator’s image in their pursuit to protect their own reputation. To understand how this to came to be, we examine why Hillsong/CLC moved Frank Houston to HCC and what they hoped to achieve in moving him there. Why did Brian and CLC elders choose Ian Woods’ church?
According to a witness at Hawkesbury,
“For the record, it was no secret at Hawkesbury at the time that Ian Woods was Hillsong’s greatest ally. Ian Woods was very close friends with both Brian Houston and Frank Houston and regularly spoke at both the Baulkham Hills and Waterloo churches…
It was also common knowledge at Hawkesbury that Ian Woods was instrumental in getting Brian Houston elected and helped pave the way for the ACC, and there was nothing Ian Woods wouldn’t do for both Brian and Frank Houston.
At Hawkesbury, Ian Woods was ‘totally’ in charge of everything and no one would dare disagree or question him on anything. I saw many leave the church after disagreeing with him on various issues.” [Source] (Emphasis added.)
In closing, the decision to move Frank Houston to Ian Woods’ church is very troubling in light of the above witness statements. By protecting his father, Brian Houston was also protecting himself and the ‘image’ of his Hillsong empire. This is a far cry from someone who is a true shepherd of God’s flock – a godly pastor will naturally defend the sheep and expose the wolf (or predator).
From the outset, the way Brian Houston ‘protected’ his father at the expense of the AOG Executive, should cause anyone to question this man representing himself as a minister of the gospel. The fact that Brian Houston also protected and covered up the crimes of his father at the expense of the victims seeking justice and misleading a Royal Commission, is ample proof this man is not only a threat to the body of Christ but to society at large. Did Brian Houston show any pastoral ‘duty of care’ towards his father’s sexually abused victims or demonstrate biblical integrity before the Royal Commission? Or instead was it all about ‘NARpostle’ Brian and his Hillsong movement.
By his actions Brian Houston has done great damage to God’s sheep, and in doing so has been exposed by Christ Himself:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” Matthew 7:15-23
Email all comments and questions to email@example.com