A growing public backlash has forced Hillsong Church to review its decision to host a disgraced US pastor who once described women as “penis houses” and has since been shunned by his own congregation.
Mark Driscoll, who resigned from his Seattle “mega church” last year after being found “guilty of pride” and other leadership abuses, has been invited by the Australian evangelical church to appear on the main stage at its national conference in Sydney this month.
An online petition calling for his invitation to be revoked had attracted almost 3000 signatures as of Sunday morning. It argues Hillsong was “both endorsing and legitimising” Mr Driscoll’s views about women by hosting him at the event.
These include railings against “penis-envying burned feministed [sic] single mothers” and sermons instructing women to serve men.
Brian Houston, Hillsong’s founder, said on Sunday that he would be speaking with Mr Driscoll in the afternoon to “work out where to go from here”.
“I am going to be talking to him later on today and we’ll talk about the different possibilities,” Mr Houston told Channel Seven’s Sunrise.
“I need to hear from him directly about some of these things.”
In one infamous oration, Mr Driscoll preached: “Ultimately, God created you and it is His penis. You are simply borrowing it for a while.”
“Knowing that His penis would need a home, God created a woman to be your wife. And when you marry her and look down you will notice that your wife is shaped differently than you and makes a very nice home.”
Mr Houston said the comments were “disgraceful and degrading” and “couldn’t be further from where we stand”.
“That particular statement, the first time I ever heard that to be honest is in this last two or three days,” said Mr Houston.
“I know Mark’s said sorry many times over,” he said.
“Sadly, it looks like the damage was already done by then because a lot of people are not forgiving toward him at all, there’s a lot of feeling around the whole situation with Mark’s claims and some of the ways he led.”
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