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Hillsong Founding Pastor Brian Houston Has Resigned Following the Revelation of Scandals

Brian Houston, the founder of Hillsong Church, has resigned. The announcement came following revelations of inappropriate interactions with two different women that violated the church’s code of conduct.

It’s the latest in a series of scandals that have plagued the church in recent years, from Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz’s extramarital affair to alleged financial mismanagement at the now-shuttered campus in Dallas, Texas. But Houston has overseen the management and discipline duties of all these woes, and his own scandals are by far the most critical in the global megachurch’s history.

Earlier this year, Houston stepped away from leadership duties for the remainder of the year to focus on a legal battle in Australia, where he faces charges that he did not report his father Frank Houston’s sexual abuse. However, another investigation uncovered Houston’s own inappropriate interactions over the last ten years. In one instance, he sent flirtatious texts to a staff member. In another, he ended up alone with another woman in her hotel room.

“The truth is we don’t know what happened next,” Phil Dooley, Houston’s interim replacement, said in a video leaked to local Australian news. “The woman has not said there was any sexual activity. Brian has said there was no sexual activity, but he was in the room for 40 minutes.”

The woman filed a complaint with a church and was paid an undisclosed amount of money.

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At the height of its influence, Hillsong’s reach was vast. Its vaunted worship band dominated charts (and, it must be noted, has been featured in RELEVANT numerous times) and the congregation counted the likes of Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Kevin Durant among its members. But the fallout has been a blow to Hillsong’s reputation and several upcoming documentaries aim to take a look at just what went wrong.

“We are committed to doing what is necessary to ensure God is honored, and our eyes are fixed on Jesus,” read a statement from the board.

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