… The recorded sermon challenges Brian Houston’s evidence to the child abuse royal commission in 2014 that Frank Houston was “stood down instantly” after admitting child sex offences, and “never, ever preached again anywhere after I confronted him in my office in mid to late November, 1999”.
Maitland Christian Church Pastor Bob Cotton, who can be heard on the recording answering Frank Houston’s questions, said it was more evidence backing his concerns about Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s very public support of Brian Houston, despite an ongoing police investigation into how Mr Houston and the Assemblies of God responded to the Frank Houston allegations.
In the recording Frank Houston talks directly to young boys in the church, including “This curly-headed young man… what a fetching young fellow he is. Curly hair, sort of. Good looking. It’s not your fault you’re good looking. Thank God you are. Who wants to be ugly when you can be good looking?” He also spoke about how he had seen a “significant number of young people who were slain in the Holy Spirit” during “great revivals”, where the people “that very often get smitten by the Holy Spirit are young people”. He referred to a 14-year-old boy who had a “revival in his heart” in New Zealand that also revived numbers at Frank Houston’s then church. Mr Houston told the Maitland church he felt “quite nostalgic” but “memory can be a very good thing. It can stir something in you and create desire, which is a step into something God will fulfil in your life”.
Mr Cotton said he was horrified to listen to the recording and hear the many direct communications between Frank Houston and boys in the church. “Betrayal? That’s an understatement. I felt, and still feel, gutted like a fish,” Mr Cotton said.
In his evidence to the royal commission Brian Houston said that by 1999, when Brett Sengstock’s allegation that Frank Houston had sexually abused him from the age of seven was raised with him, he was aware that “Frank was in the early stages of dementia”.
“I am also aware that his memory deteriorated very quickly because of dementia after 2000,” Brian Houston said in his statement to the royal commission.
In his book Live, Love, Lead, released in June, 2015 before the royal commission delivered its findings into Australian Christian Churches and Hillsong four months later, Brian Houston said his father “never ministered again” after November, 1999.
“He descended quickly into old age as the shame and torment of his dark past overtook him,” Mr Houston wrote.
“I spent a lot of time with Frank in his final years. I don’t agree with the assessment of his mental state that was presented by some to the royal commission,” Mr Cotton said.
“Anyone who listens to that sermon would struggle with the idea he was a man suffering from dementia to the extent that he couldn’t still deliver a sermon.”
If you support Hillsong after reading this article, you’re either dirty – or a fucking idiot…