New Hulu Docuseries “The Secrets of Hillsong” Focuses on the Megachurch’s Scandals
Like the famous “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” many Christians don’t need to look far to discover how they relate to Hillsong, the megachurch famous for its prolific output of hit worship songs. Last week, boxer Ryan Garcia surprised PPV audiences by walking out before a hyped match to Hillsong United’s song “Oceans.” A recent study of the 25 most popular worship songs over a ten-year period revealed that more than one-third came out of Hillsong.
Unfortunately, over the last several years, the church has been discussed less for its music than for a series of explosive scandals related to its key leadership and institutional structure. Former pastor Carl Lentz, known for his friendships with Justin Bieber and several other famous Hollywood celebrities, was fired in 2020 due to accusations of sexual abuse and adultery. In 2022, Hillsong’s founder and senior pastor Brain Houston stepped down after criminal charges were brought related to covering up sexual abuse and for inappropriate relations with several women.
FX Network, in association with the reporting of Vanity Fair, just released a trailer for a four-episode docuseries called The Secrets of Hillsong. The series will stream on Hulu starting on May 19.
While the upcoming docuseries is perhaps the most high-profile, several other documentaries, podcasts, and specials have already focused on the Hillsong scandals. Many in secular media have been eager to shine a spotlight on the failures and corruption of such an influential Christian church. At the same time, the series is not a fictional Hollywood story. Over the last several years, there has been a reckoning as #MeToo became #ChurchToo, and many high-profile Christian leaders have been exposed for abuse or moral failings. While the failings of these prominent leaders is clearly not representative of all Christians, the unfortunate actions can often be products of more widespread issues or oversight within church culture, and their public nature gives them a disproportionate influence for how many people on the outside view the Christian church.
Whatever mainstream media’s motives may be, Christians should be troubled when ethical shortcomings within the church call our witness into question and heartbroken for the victims caught in the middle of the scandals. Whatever else comes from The Secrets of Hillsong docuseries, it is another sober reminder that Christians are called to live “in the light” before the watching eyes of an unbelieving world.