When St Augustine visited Hillsong last week, many interested parties plied him for comment on Australia's biggest and most influential mega-church. At the time, he was strangely silent; however, through conniving and skullduggery, I have managed to obtain portions of the manuscript for his Sunday morning sermon tomorrow. Though he doesn't mention Hillsong by name, I think readers will agree that his visit has clearly made an impression, and that he has some important things to say about it to his own congregation:
What kind of men are they who, fearing to hurt those they speak to, not only do not prepare them for imminent temptations, but even promise the happiness of this world, which God did not promise to the world itself? He foretells toil upon toil, that will come upon the world right to the end; and do you wish the Christian to be exempt from these labours? Because he is a Christian, he is likely to suffer more rather than less in this world.
For the Apostle says, 'All who wish to live piously in Christ will suffer persecution.' Now if you will, you shepherd seeking your own advantage not that of Jesus Christ, let Paul say, 'All who wish to live piously in Christ will suffer persecution,' and do you say, 'If you have lived piously in Christ, all good things will be yours in abundance. And if you have not children, you will take up and nurture all men, and not one will die on your account'? Is this your way of building? Notice what you are doing, where you are placing a man. He is on sand, this man you are setting up. The rain will fall, the floods will come, the wind will blow; they will beat upon that house of yours and it will fall, and great will be the fall thereof.
Raise him up from the sand, set him upon a rock; let him whom you wish to be a Christian live in Christ. Let him note the indignities and sufferings of Christ; let him observe the sinless Christ paying for what He had not stolen; let him attend to the words of Scripture, telling him, 'The Lord chastises every son whom He accepts.' Let him prepare himself for chastisement, or else not seek to be accepted.
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