Mine is the Kingdom

David Hardaker

Mine is the Kingdom
Allen & Unwin
27 February 2024

Mine is the Kingdom

David Hardaker

In 2023 the curtain finally came down on Brian Houston. The rock star of Pentecostalism, former Global Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church, was acquitted of concealing his father's sexual abuse of a minor, but it was too late. His glittering megachurch had disowned him. How had it come to this? And how did Hillsong, the brightest star of international evangelical Christianity, fall to earth so spectacularly?

Following in his father Frank's footsteps, Brian led Hillsong to become the nation's biggest and loudest Pentecostal church, built on the millions donated by its followers. He would hold audiences of 20,000 in the palm of his hand with a powerful message from God: You need more money.

Houston took his church worldwide, and even made it into the White House. Justin Bieber and several Kardashians were Hillsong regulars. Politicians courted Hillsong, with its magnetic appeal to aspirational Australians, and the church's story became entwined with that of Australia's first Pentecostal prime minister, Scott Morrison, who looked to Brian Houston as a key spiritual influence.

But just as Houston's kingdom was at the very height of its powers, it dramatically fell apart when the church's dirty secrets came tumbling out. Behind the scenes a secret insurrection, led by young Christian women, had mobilised. Journalist David Hardaker had been investigating the Hillsong phenomenon for several years, gaining unparalleled access to former insiders, when he received a tip-off. Something big was going down . . .

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