Evidence has emerged from Case 18 at the Royal Commission revealing a potential cover-up between CLC/Hillsong and the AOG/ACC – attempting to conceal the sexual abuse scandal of Brett Sengstock and Frank Houston.
While it was impossible to determine at the Royal Commission what was talked about specifically at the AOG Executive meeting in December 1999, the evidence that emerged both inside and outside the hearing communicated a very clear story that some of the ‘apostles’ that attended the meeting were keen to cover it up for good. As you are about learn, one ‘prophetic apostle’, David Cartledge was very keen to present Frank Houston as the founder and ‘righteous apostle’ of the Hillsong movement. But first, some context.
THE NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION.
The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) was condemned by the Pentecostal movement and to this day largely condemned, by Charismaticism, as a cult.
Not only did Pentecostalism first recognise it (see the New Order of the Latter Rain), C. Peter Wagner attempted to identify its core beliefs and attempt to lead the ‘movement’ itself through his ‘International Coalition of Apostles’ network. With much success, Wagner to this day was recognised as its leading apostolic figure.
The key doctrine that separates the NAR from Pentecostal (emphasis on the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and the church) and Charismatic (emphasis on the gifts of the spirit ‘charisma / χάρισμα’) churches is their belief that Apostles and Prophets exist and MUST govern the church today.
Both Frank and Brian Houston were both apostles of the New Apostolic Reformation and were even recognised as apostles by C. Peter Wagner. Furthermore, one could not be on the AOG National Executive team unless they were well-known ‘apostles’.
At the National Executive meeting in 1999, all those attending were known apostles of the NAR movement.
At this point, we remind our readers that Brian Houston chaired the 1999 AOG Executive meeting. This brings us to Brian Houston leaving this ‘minor’ detail out at the Royal Commission (but published in his book ‘Live Love Lead’ a year later):
“… 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 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 whatever ‘vision’ Apostle Brian has. So even if Brian left the room, the interests must favour the ‘vision’ of their head apostle. In other words, Brian Houston’s insights proved without a shadow of a doubt that those in this meeting had a conflict of interests.
But there was a bigger problem also failed to be addressed at the Royal Commission:
Brian Houston was in the midst of preparing a New Apostolic Reformation event. He was in the process of launching the ACC with C. Peter Wagner’s ‘apostolic leadership’ in February 2000. The apostolic event was 2 months away. So what do the AOG Executives do with Frank Houston? Do they care about the sexual abuse victim of one of their own apostolic leaders… or just focus on the historical apostolic event?
It’s crucial we understand who were present at the 1999 AOG Special Executive Meeting:
Click here to see the original document.
WHY THE CONTEXT AROUND THE 1999 AOG EXECUTIVE MEETING IS SCANDALOUS.
It was under Brian Houston’s presidency that the entire AOG by this time was part of the New Apostolic Reformation.
This was why the AOG became the ACC in the year 2000 and why it was extremely important to understand who turned up to the event that changed the Australian AOG forever (emphasis added):
“Dr Peter Wagner was a guest at the launch event, and declared that this unity was unprecedented. He said that there was no other denomination in the world that had transitioned into an apostolic fellowship as the Assemblies of God in Australia had.”
The above quote is from David Cartledge – an ‘apostle’ and ‘prophet’ who attended the 1999 Executive Meeting to discuss Frank’s paedophilia. It is a quote from his book ‘The Apostolic Revolution: The restoration of Apostles and Prophets in the Assemblies of God Australia’.
Please pay attention to the date in this next excerpt and who the key players were when coordinating this NAR scheme:
One of the most far-reaching initiatives to emerge from the apostolic leadership of the Assemblies of God has been the formation of the Australian Christian Churches in February 2000. Brian Houston and the National Executive led their pastors and churches to form an umbrella group to unify the activities and image of the Pentecostal churches in Australia.
‘Apostle’ Cartledge went on to say:
Dr Peter Wagner was a guest at the launch event, and declared that this unity was unprecedented. He said that there was no other denomination in the world that had transitioned into an apostolic fellowship as the Assemblies of God in Australia had.
THE NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION EVENT THAT LAUNCHED THE ACC.
It appears that C. Peter Wagner was more involved with Brian Houston, Hillsong, the AOG and the launch than many realise.
Firstly, David Cartledge and other Australian and New Zealand spiritual leaders were recognised as ‘apostles’ in Wagner’s International Coalition of Apostles network. This explains why Cartledge had such a good connection and relationship with Wagner when it came to each other’s literature.
Consider what Wagner said in 1999 in his book ‘Churchquake’ about Hillsong and the Australian AOG (emphasis added):
Given this background, you can imagine my delight when my friend David Cartledge began informing me that the Assemblies of God in Australia, clearly an old wineskin, had actually done it. They had made the transition from a traditional denomination to an apostolic network. The fruit of the change is dramatically depicted in the denominational graph of growth…
Cartledge says, “In reality, the debate on the manifestations of the Spirit was quite superficial. The real issue that emerged at that conference was the autonomy of the churches and their rights to engage in forms of worship that were not approved by the Executive. The other major issues were the recognition of ministry gifts beyond the pastor, teacher, and evangelist.” Keep in mind that the implication of this last statement was that the Assemblies of God had persisted in refusing to recognize and encourage the ministry of prophets and apostles within their churches.
The change came at the national conference of 1977, when voices crying “We want apostolic ministries to lead us” began to be heard by the delegates. Cartledge says, “Although there was no rule made about the type of ministers that should comprise the Executive, each conference since that time had always appointed proven apostolic and prophetic ministries as the national leadership of the movement.”
[…] Frank Houston planted the Christian Life Centre in Sydney and now has 2,500 members. His son, Brian, started a daughter church from Christian Life Centre, and now has 5,000 members, the largest church in Australia. These kinds of charismatic leaders form the leadership of the renewed Assemblies of God in Australia. Brian Houston is currently the national superintendent.
Remarkable changes have occurred. For example, the Australian Assemblies now allow their pastors to plant churches and develop apostolic networks … The denomination also allows its ministers to establish and operate their own itinerant parachurch-type organizations, and many of them are advertised as having prophetic and apostolic ministries, something that would have been impossible prior to 1977. For example, Brian Houston, the national superintendent, holds his own national conference each year and draws more participants than the Assemblies of God national conference itself. It is possible, therefore, for old wineskins to be massaged enough by the oil of the Holy Spirit so they can receive the new wine God desires to pour out. If other denominations could take some of the bold and decisive steps that the Australian Assemblies of God have taken, the future would look bright. How many will actually choose to do so remains to be seen.
You can read C. Peter Wagner’s talk on about this here:
The origins of Hillsong (Part 7): Wagner acknowledges Hillsong & AOG are NAR.
Secondly, a witness published the following that captured a portion of a flyer advertising the event (emphasis added). DeceptionInTheChurch claims the original article was published back in 1999, meaning that the event was planned way before the National Executive met in December 1999:
… I think my title “Jumping on the Bandwagon” is an appropriate description for the subject I am about to discuss, that of the February 2000 launching of Australian Christian Churches (hereafter, ACC), the result of an initiative of the National Executive of the Assemblies of God in Australia (hereafter, AOG). The initiative called for an alliance between various Pentecostal and Charismatic denominations in Australia with Brian Houston, General Superintendent of the Australian AOG, installed as the inaugural President…
… In the brochure that I received, advertising C. Peter Wagner’s conference in Brisbane, the following was written:
“The New Apostolic Reformation is an extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit that is changing the shape of Christianity globally. It is truly a new day! The Church is changing. New names! New methods! New worship expressions! The Lord is establishing the foundations of the Church for the new millennium. This foundation is built upon apostles and prophets. Apostles execute and establish God’s plan on the earth. The time to convene a conference of the different apostolic prophetic streams across this nation is now! This conference will cause the Body to understand God’s ‘new’ order for this coming era. We look forward to having you with us in Brisbane in Feb 2000.”
It was signed by Peter Wagner and Ben Gray.
Source: By Hughie Seaborn, Jumping On The Bandwagon Australian Christian Churches Seduced by the Beat of a Different Drummer?, Thy Word is a Lamp, http://members.ozemail.com.au/~rseaborn/bandwagon.html, Published (Accessed [Archive]
Thirdly, Wagner admitted he read Cartledge’s work before being published. Cartledge published the book ‘The Apostolic Revolution’ first on June 2000 and then again on August 2000. 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). It is important to note that the status of ‘apostle’ means such men cannot be questioned.
Here are some excerpts from his book (Frank Houston is recognised globally as a ‘proven apostle’):
There was no disclaimer or mention in this book that Frank Houston was now disgraced for being 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]
The book is nothing more then an ‘advertisement’, promoting Brian Houston’s AOG/ACC leadership. It was strategically published to promote awareness of the launching of the ACC and how the New Apostolic Reformation in Australia would be the first potential nation in the world to influence the rest of the world spiritually.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?
To have Wagner not just attribute Brian’s church as part of the NAR but personally invest and advertise Brian Houston’s launch cannot be emphasised enough. The context of the AOG Executive meeting, the ACC launch, C. Peter Wagner’s involvement and the publication of the book ‘Apostolic Revolution’ raises some uncomfortable questions:
- In spite of all the National Executive (including David Cartledge) knowing full well of Frank’s paedophilia, why is this not mentioned in Cartledge’s book ‘Apostolic Revolution’? The fact that Cartledge did not leave Frank out of his book speaks volumes about the level of integrity of these so-called ‘apostolic leaders’.
- Since C. Peter Wagner clearly looked up to Frank and Brian Houston as apostles within his ‘New Apostolic Reformation’, were the crimes of Frank ever mentioned to C. Peter Wagner?
- Furthermore, did Frank attend the ACC launch as an apostle?
It would make logical sense if he did because Cartledge was still publicly making the claim in his book ‘Apostolic Revolution’ (Aug 2000) that Frank Houston was an ‘approved apostle’ after writing about the ACC launch in February 2000 (Cartledge already knew of the crimes of Frank by December 1999).
- If Wagner was told – why would he attend the ACC launch or promote Cartledge’s book or not hold Brian Houston and others involved accountable?
- If Wagner wasn’t told, why didn’t Brian or his apostolic executive team feel the need to be confide in this situation to Wagner as their leading apostolic figure?
- If Wagner was not told, why didn’t he or other ‘apostles’ receive a ‘revelation from the Holy Spirit (as they all claim to hear directly from God) about Frank Houston and the ACC cover-up of the sex scandal?
We know that Cartledge was not divulging to his audience the real truth why Frank “… handed the leadership of the church to his son Brian in 1999.”
Cartledge knew by this time (2000) that Frank was handing his church over to Brian because he was about to be exposed for his crimes. In that 1999 Executive meeting Cartledge, not only knew that Frank was a paedophile, he chose to hide this ‘revelation’ in printed form while slapping the approval of C. Peter Wagner, (the leading Apostolic figure of the NAR) in an attempt to cover up the true criminal nature of Frank Houston.
And let’s not forget that Brian Houston also failed to talk honestly about his father in his publication in 2000 ‘You Can Change the Future’:
Brian leverages off father’s reputation & hides paedophilia to promote himself & Hillsong
Furthermore, documents from the Royal Commission revealed that the ACC were prepared to cover up Frank’s crimes by issuing statements to quash rumours within their own denomination.
The context around Brian Houston, his ‘apostolic posse’ and the launching of the ACC help paint a very disturbing picture as to why they were not keen to make Frank Houston’s sins, and confession, public – especially in front of the leading apostle of the New Apostolic Reformation.
A PATTERN IN COVERING UP SEXUAL ABUSE IN APOSTOLIC RANKS.
Keep in mind, this is the same C. Peter Wagner who was exposed in the horrendous Lakeland scandal.
After hearing rumours in his own apostolic leadership network of Todd Bentley’s sin, Wagner wanted to bring him ‘accountability’, ‘covering’ and ‘apostolic oversight’ by aligning Bentley to his apostolic leaders at the infamous ‘Commissioning Ceremony’.
What Wagner seemed to not know was that Bentley already had a track record of abusing minors. Thus when Todd Bentley was publicly disgraced for having an affair with his intern and divorcing his wife in 2008, many pulpit protests fell deaf on ‘apostolic’ ears. The only thing Wagner clearly cared about was washing his own hands and protecting his image. Today, Todd Bentley has been involved in more and more sex scandals – his own staff calling him out and other victims coming forward sharing their shocking stories:
The fact is this – these ‘apostles’, (and even Wagner admits it himself), appear unaccountable to no one. We’ve seen this with countless other NAR apostles that are part of the lucrative New Apostolic Reformation network.
This is a far bigger scandal than the ‘Charismatic Day of Infamy’.
The day C. Peter Wagner and Brian Houston launched the ACC to propel the New Apostolic Reformation into the millennium was also a day of great sin for both. How can they parade their divine apostolic authorities on such a day when all of the apostles calling for apostolic unity were covering up the crimes of a paedophile?
As Brian Houston pointed out in ‘Live Love Lead’, his ‘apostolic posse’ had serious conflicts of interest when they gathered to submit to the apostolic vision of Brian and Frank and began to “talk about a way forward”. At all costs, they needed to keep the image of ‘Apostle’ Frank Houston intact in front of their international audience at the launching of the ACC.
We submit this opinion 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 (but failed to mention Frank accurately in his ‘advertising’ material). Frank Houston played a pivotal role in bringing the New Apostolic Reformation into the AOG and was essential in leading such apostles into the seats of the National Executive.
At the end of the day, false apostles love all the perks and benefits but not the responsibility. They love all the privileges but not the accountability. They want the status but not the substance. We have every reason to believe that C. Peter Wagner knew and said nothing – especially since these apostles and apostolic networks claim to be key to holding other apostles and denominations accountable.
If Wagner wanted us to believe he is an apostle overseeing an accountable apostolic network, then he is guilty of not revealing what the Holy Spirit showed him regarding Frank Houston. He should have received special divine knowledge of the matter and called out Brian Houston, Frank Houston and the apostles on the National Executive for their cover-up.
February 2000 was being pronounced around the globe that Australia was to “become the first nation in the world to model, as a nation, the new wineskins“ of Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation: Hillsong and all its apostolic network of leaders finally bringing in the New World Order of the church across the earth.
Thanks to the work of one godly man, journalist and pastor Philip Powell – they were all exposed as nothing more than the “lawless ones” in Matthew 7.
“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 7:21-23
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“Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” Galatians 4:16