Hillsong United's Joel Houston affirms evolution


(Joshua Hedlund) #1

Background: Hillsong United’s 2017 worship album contained a song about creation, “So Will I,” that used the word “evolving”

And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I

The song has recently been getting Christian radio play, and a Twitter fan asked Joel about the meaning and he responded directly. He appears to affirm evolution generally (and God’s role in it) as well as the direct creation of human beings.

“Evolution is undeniable—created by God as a reflective means of displaying nature’s pattern of renewal in pursuance of God’s Word—an ode to the nature of the creative God it reflects—and only ever in part—not the SOURCE! Science and faith aren’t at odds. God created the Big-Bang”

Also:

“i believe God created humanity out of the dust… and breathed his breath/Spirit into us…”

If you’re not familiar with Christian music or evangelical culture in general, this is a pretty big deal. Houston has been one of the biggest names in worship music for well over a decade. It will be interesting to see what kind of waves this causes in evangelical world, especially compared to Michael Gungor’s affirmation of evolution a few years ago, which generated a fairly large controversy and loss of stature.


(Laura) #2

Neat! Thanks for sharing.

I guess it’s only a matter of time until Ken Ham takes him to task.


(Brad Kramer) #3

He’s been tweeting like crazy this afternoon, with more on the subject:


(Christy Hemphill) #4

Gungor songs are not really congregational worship songs, so it was more a matter of losing bookings with them. I think a more similar case would be when Vicky Beeching came out and everyone predicted Evangelicals would never sing her songs again. I don’t know how it is in other churches, but my church didn’t stop singing Glory to God Forever, and I don’t think most people care. Maybe Houston has a ton of name recognition and I’m just out of the loop, but my impression is that unless it’s a Chris Tomlin song, the average Evangelical doesn’t know or care who wrote it or what church it originated in. And if we found out Chris Tomlin had a bunch of skeletons in his closet, we’d probably lament a minute, and then go back to singing his songs. My church sings Sovereign Grace songs and Elevation Church songs and no one associates them with anything Steven Furtick or CJ Mahaney say or do.

It’s also interesting because I think the people selecting the songs (at least at the kinds of churches who sing Hillsong music) tend to skew younger and more what I call “Relevant Magazine crowd” compared to the congregation as a whole, and I think they are less likely to think this is a big deal at all. My worship pastor loves So Will I, (though he did change ‘evolving’ to ‘moving’ to avoid people fussing about it) and I’d bet he doesn’t personally have a problem with anything Houston tweeted. Most of the congregation over forty complains about the current song selections at our church for one reason or another, so I think he’s gotten immune to it all at this point. (I’m trying to grow old gracefully, but, for the record, This is how I fight my battles/It may look like I’m surrounded by I’m surrounded by you is basically a long title, not a complete song. It sounds like a Babylon Bee parody to me. What in the world?)

So, I’m guessing it’s not going to be a big deal. Come on people. It’s the “nothing matters anymore” era. That has to work in our favor at least once in a while.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #5

Speaking up as one of the “over 40” curmudgeons, your song link above is what some who hail from the “traditional services” as being a 7-11 song. Seven words sung 11 times. That humorous dismissive came from none other than Garrison Keillor (speaking of people being shuffled off the stage with all their skeletons!)

[for the record … I have my share of “7-11” songs I’m attached to; but I still reserve the right to complain about it.]


#6

I saw a cartoon where one man asked another man what he did for a living. His reply was,

I write modern worship choruses,
I write modern worship choruses,
I write modern worship choruses,
I write modern worship choruses,
I write modern worship choruses,
I write modern worship choruses.
I write modern worship choruses.
I write modern worship choruses.


(Phil) #7

Well, if we are complaining about church music, I get pretty grumpy about how so many have “I , me, and my” as the most prominent words. That is, they are so individual centric, casting the individual as what it all about rather than God. Of course, my wife tells me to just shut up and sing.
But back to the subject, I agree that little will be made of it but we will see.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #8

I feel like that should be a motto printed somewhere. Or a sermon title.


(A.M. Wolfe) #9

Woah.

Any “Farewell, Joel Houston” retorts? :slight_smile:


(Christy Hemphill) #10

Well, we sang So Will I at church today, so either the worship pastor was intentionally saying the tweets don’t matter or everyone is just oblivious and the tweets don’t matter. At least at my church.


(Curtis Henderson) #11

I actually poked my nose a bit into that Twitter thread. There were a couple of individuals that considered anything other than 144-hour creation to be heresy, but most individuals were fully supportive of the lyrics. Of course, the Twitterverse demographic tends to leave out a lot of those that would be offended.

In any case, I saw an article I appreciated today.

https://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/Hillsong-worship-leader-says-evolution-is-undeniable-.-But-let-s-not-jump-to-conclusions

Houston’s response was:

(Hopefully I got all this newfangled tech-y stuff correct in my phone!)


(George Brooks) #12

@jpm

Remember the Army adverts from a decade ago? “Be an Army of One! Be all you can be!”

The new generation was so individualistic, they didn’t even want to fight a war embedded in a team! To fight and die alone… but even better to fight alone and not die at all!

I wonder what the Primitive Church… with no possessions or ownership… would have made of all that EGO.


(JCSmith) #13

Joel Houston is human and therefore flawed.That said I’ve always accepted that evolution was part of God’s plan. Never had a doubt. Who are we to assume that God works on our “time?” Who are we to know what a day truly was to God Almighty? Could be 24 hours and it could be millions of years. ANY man assuming that they and only they know how God “created” is displaying the very human trait of arrogance combined with a big dose of ego. Neither have a place in Christianity. Both create untold damage in churches and harden the hearts of Christians and non Christians. We must accept that there is proof to support evolution and we know there is proof to support creation. They aren’t at odds in my mind but eternally linked together all from God by God. In this ultra polarized world we live in why are we, professed Christians tearing each other apart over a word in a song?There is so much suffering and misery, so many that need us to be the hands and feet of Christ yet we waste energy fussing and fighting. It is sin in it’s purest form. It makes no sense to me at all. I sing "So Will I"every time it comes on the radio. I love the song. It brings tears to my eyes. I was shocked to hear it’s meaning was being called into question.I pulled up the lyrics and read each word carefully after hearing about the brouhaha it caused. The word “evolving” is the perfect lyric and gives all glory to God. Another lyric gives credit for science to God. There are metaphors found in it’s lyrics but I find the song very touching. It gives ALL glory, praise and credit to God for every single thing EVER created. How can you argue with that? That some do mystifies me and they use their “objections” to elevate themselves in the eyes of man. There is no doubt God is good all the time. Christians and “religion?” Not so much. We have a great deal of work to do on ourselves and in our churches. I fail every single day and am humbled every single day. I am so thankful and blessed that God gives me (and everyone) a new day and a fresh slate. It’s an opportunity to quell the arrogance and ego that resides in the heart of every single human being. God’s gift of a “do over” is something we shouldn’t waste. We are called to serve him and have too much selfless work to do in his name!


(system) #14

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