Brian Houston, the former senior pastor of the Hillsong megachurch, has taken to social media in a live video to explain in more detail his removal from the esteemed role.
While Mr Houston was speaking online, his lawyer was reportedly in a Sydney court on Mr Houston’s behalf, where his trial for allegedly concealing “serious indictable offence of another person” which concerns child sexual abuse committed by his late father Frank Houston that occurred in the 1970s, will soon commence. He has pleaded not guilty via his lawyer and has always maintained his innocence, stating in his Facebook message that he will fight the charges.
The trial will begin in early December.
Since sensationally resigning from the top job at Hillsong back in March, both Brian and Bobbie have been active on social media. They have been preaching within both America and Australia and have also recently announced evening events, which commence next week in Sydney. There is speculation that they will be launching a church, or similar ministry.
Since the March resignation, which was quickly followed up by Bobbie Houston being made redundant, Mr Houston has never discussed why he was removed from his job, nor any of the events surrounding it. Hillsong released statements at the time, but the Houstons have remained quiet.
Taking to social media Thursday morning Australian time, he spoke out for the first time on the sensational events at Hillsong. As reported by The Guardian, he said the decision to resign from Hillsong was “the hardest decision of my life”.
He said he stood down from the pentecostal megachurch because he felt the board’s response and its public pronouncements “had made my position untenable”.
In the video Houston said he told the church’s board he hoped he could remain in a role as “founding pastor” of the church. But he said the church’s response made that impossible.
“That’s what I wrote to the board, and that’s [in] the resignation that the board were quick to accept,” he said. “Sadly, in the statements and announcements made, there was enough detail to pour ultimate shame and humiliation on me, but enough ambiguity to leave people to make their own conclusions about what did or did not happen.”
Houston said he offered his resignation to the church board after he was charged, but said: “I guess a big part of me hoped that the board, knowing the pressure I was under, would reject my offer and continue to fight for me. But that was not to be.”
He also said, “The narrative that I am an alcoholic is false,” before explaining that he had not touched a sleeping pill in a decade.
In a now deleted post on Facebook promoting the live recording, many were quick to support the pastor, while others believed he deserved to lose his job for past incidents, where allegations of sexual indiscretions toward women were revealed.
Mr Houston’s upcoming court case is expected to last between three and four weeks.