Hillsong Church has cancelled the Australian visit of a controversial US pastor who once described women as “penis houses” after a public backlash.
Hillsong’s founder, Brian Houston, said Mark Driscoll would no longer attend the Pentacostal megachurch’s conferences in Australia or the United Kingdom after the pair had a “personal interaction” on Sunday.
“I do not want unnecessary distractions during our conference, particularly as this 30 minute interview was only a small part of this five day event,” Mr Houston said in a statement.
“It was clear to me that Mark’s attendance had the potential to divert attention from the real purpose of Hillsong Conference, which is to see people leave encouraged in their own spiritual journey.”
An online petition calling for Mr Driscoll to be removed from Hillsong’s conferences had attracted more than 3000 signatures prior to Mr Houston’s statement.
The US pastor, who has courted controversy for what has been dubbed his “more-macho-than-thou” brand of Christianity, resigned from his Seattle megachurch in October after being found “guilty of pride” as well as abusive, controlling and manipulative behaviour.
In the wake of this and other scandals, the Mars Hill Church collapsed.
But much of the Australian backlash has centred around Mr Driscoll’s comments about women.
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.”
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