The worship leader of the Hillsong Church in New York City is causing controversy. It all started with a lyric in one of Hillsong United's new songs, and it escalated when he clarified on Twitter.
Hillsong United's latest hits, "So Will I (100 Billion X)," has lyrics that have ignited a debate over creation versus evolution.
The lyrics read: "And as You speak/A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath/Evolving in pursuit of what You said."
The song was written by Joel Houston, who is the eldest son of Hillsong Church's founders, noted The Christian Post. He's the lead musician in the worship band Hillsong United, and he's also the worship leader of Hillsong Church in New York City.
He tweeted to clarify the lyrics. However, the clarification didn't put out the fire.
He wrote, "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."
This tweet caused a backlash on Twitter. The conversation didn't end there; Houston continued to offer his theological beliefs on creation.
He wrote: "Context—things evolve, they change and adapt, I DON'T believe in evolution as a theory of SOURCE, I believe it's merely a pattern of nature—created by God, reflecting Nature's desire for renewal, survival, new life—something-SomeONE—Like God."
He continued, adding that he doesn't think evolution diminishes God, "Let me also add—God is WAY bigger than we think. We can try box Him any way we like, with science, theology, a tweet or a song—HE IS UNDIMINISHED by our limitations."
He further clarified, seeming to say that he doesn't believe in a literal six day creation: "If God’s creative process was an easy working week, or finely crafted over six-ages of millennia, does it make Him any more or less God? Or, us any more or less created in His image? Either way, It was an unfathomably wonderful six-day process. however you think to see it."
The popular worship leader admitted that when writing the song, the band was "aware of the implications 'evolving' would serve as a conflicting adjective for some." However, they decided to move forward with the lyric, explaining that they felt "it was worth it—if just a foolish desire to enlarge our thinking of a God who was-is-&-is to come, making all things new, 'from-Him, through-Him, To-Him.'"
In a later tweet, he tried to explain the connection he sees between sin and evolution. He seems to say that he thinks evolution is a result of sin.
"The way I see it—the NATURE of a fallen-world evolves in-decay BECAUSE of our best attempts to adapt to a—'survival of the fittest' kind of existence—yet God, fully reveals His NATURE in-and-through JESUS, who embodied ours, and showed us a DIFFERENT way. Spirit & Flesh."
He concluded his defense of the lyric with a now-pinned tweet.
"The entire premise of 'So Will I', is the redemptive, creative, authority & power of God's Word. That at the end of the day, all our best theories, ideas, dogmas & best attempts at understanding, will ultimately surrender to the 'Word at the beginning.'"
While Houston defended himself extensively, it appears that he didn't completely convince all Christians. Many are still taking issue with his statements.
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