Brian Houston, the lead pastor of the Hillsong mega-church in Australia, published You Need More Money in 1999 through his own ministry, Brian Houston Ministries. First, I must ask: who names a ministry after himself? Really?
Second question: why is this book not on his own website? [Update: he no longer endorses it, as this article shows.] I found it on Amazon by searching for "Hillsong" in my last note on Hillsong. Now that I've actually ordered this book, I have physical evidence in my hands of his teachings. Let the reader note that I bought this paperback used through Amazon for less than a dollar (before shipping).
The purpose of this book is to re-frame your understanding of money. "One of the enemy's greatest strategies is to stop God's people desiring more money" (17). Brian says that if you tell yourself all you need is enough money to put food on the table, then you're being selfish. You could try to gain money so you could put food on hundreds of tables. If you say you only need a car that gets you from A to B, then that's selfish too; what if God wants you to go to C, D, E, and F, but you only have a car that gets you from A to B?
Brian wants you to get comfortable with wealth. One exercise to help in doing this is to put on your best clothes and go to a nice restaurant to buy a cup of coffee. Just get comfortable with the thought of luxury. Though the book later develops the theme of how wealth can lead to making a real impact on the world (see below), this suggestion only breeds private comfort with having wealth and does not in any way connect to how one can use wealth for God's purposes.
The mindset Brian seeks to implant in the reader is one of grandiose ambition, in which by making more money one can impact hundreds of lives instead of a few. He stresses the necessity of money in a missionary's line of work, and applauds a missionary couple who went to China, because they started a small business in Australia and made enough money to finance their mission work. (Behold, the harvest is plentiful, but the workers need to wait 20 years to fund themselves!)
He tries to re-frame one's understanding of money as that of a neutral tool that can be good or evil, depending on its use. While there is some truth to that, money is actually a power of this world and not of God. Not just does he frame it as a neutral and necessary tool, but sees it as God's divine promise to us. Page 8 says it clearly:
Money can accomplish tremendous things for the Kingdom of God. In order to do this, we have to become comfortable with wealth, and break the bondage, guilt and condemnation of impoverished thinking. Poverty is definitely not God's will for His people. In fact, all His promises talk of blessing and prosperity.How is the reader to respond? This reader would respond with Matthew 24:3-14, or even the Discipleship Guide (Matthew 10). Following Jesus is not a way to worldly success; indeed, properly done, such discipleship may lead to a very uncomfortable death.
Page 12 interprets 2 Cor 8:9 as saying that Jesus forsook his heavenly wealth and came to earth to be poor so that Christians may be rich, i.e. free of poverty. This is, without a doubt, another gospel. I cannot stomach this teaching.
If I were to thoroughly explain every misuse of Scripture in this book, I would have to write a book of at least equal length. In short: Brian Houston, the lead pastor of Hillsong, is an excellent motivational speaker. His church offers extravagant tithes at Mammon's altar, but what does a book like this do for the Kingdom? It fulfills Matthew 24:11.
What should our reaction be to Hillsong? There's no doubt that their songs, such as "Shout to the Lord" are popular. Ousting their low-on-theology, high-on-excitement pop songs is a rather difficult task; but what can we do to stop
If you do not believe me that this guy is a con artist, you can currently buy a copy of the book on Amazon used for 52 cents (American) plus shipping. I am happy to discuss further if anyone wants details.