Hillsong Church of Atlanta officially launched its first service this past weekend, joined by rapper Da’ T.R.U.T.H. performing a hip-hop and rap worship set while flanked by Hillsong head honchos Brian and Bobbie Houston who made the trip from Australia for the grand opening. During the service the congregants cheered for their new pastor, Sam Collier, who is being lauded for being the first African- American man to serve as lead pastor of a Hillsong church.
Who is Collier? He’s a 32-year-old author, speaker, radio show personality, and pastor. His road to the Hillsong pastorate is a wild one indeed.
Around a decade ago he spent several years as the Youth Choir Director at Ebenezer Baptist Church. This is the church that Martin Luther King Jr. co-pastored in the ’60s. During his time there, the Senior Pastor was the openly pro-choice, openly pro-LGBT, heresy-spewing, Planned-Parenthood-endorsed Democrat Senator, Dr. Raphael Warnock.
After leaving Ebenezer, he joined up with New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, a 25,000 member megachurch pastored by Bishop Eddie Long. Long, you’ll recall, was a prosperity gospel heretic who preached wretched blasphemies about name-it-and-claim-it, speaking realities into existence, and little god theology. Long was a multi-millionaire who flaunted his wealth from the pulpit and was embroiled in several sex scandals with males youth in his church. Collier spent a couple of years on staff here as well.
In his autobiography, A Greater Story, Collier recounts that it was during this time in his mid 20s that he made his first white friend, an odd revelation given the overabundance of white people around. He eventually left Long’s church in 2014 and joined Andy Stanley’s NorthPoint Church, hardly a bastion of sound theological and biblical fidelity, preaching his first sermon there in 2016. He remained there for 6 years, being appointed pastor at some time (we have no record of him going to seminary or receiving formal pastoral training) until he and his wife were tapped for the lead pastors of Hillsong in 2020, until she backed out to continue her career as an author.
With such a…varied pedigree…it is unsurprising that his theological convictions are a bit of a mess. A brief perusal of his social media contains a ton of posts about supporting Black Lives Matter, social justice, and explaining what privilege is and how white people definitely have it. These sobering truths, coupled with him being a willing participant in listening to Warnock, Long, and Stanley for years, ought to throw up more than a few red flags.
During the sermon, which attracted over a thousand people across two services, Collier introduced the Houstons by noting it has been a “difficult year” for Hillsong, likely referencing the raft of major sex and financial scandals that have struck a third of their campuses – the natural consequence of appointing fiscally unaccountable hipster hype-priests.
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