Why the Hillsong ‘Dancing Naked Cowboy’ Story Matters
(TRUNEWS) It should be perfect material for the myriad of satire websites that abound online. The story of New York’s Hillsong Church having a performance during a Christian women’s conference of the iconic Times Square Dancing Naked Cowboy draws reactions from “That has to be fake”, or “The rumor mill is running”.
Not only is the story itself absolutely true, but the entire story reveals even more about the state of the Babylonian church in America.
First, yes, it is true that a dancing naked cowboy performed on the platform during a Hillsong Women’s conference in New York. As it turns out, however, it wasn’t THE Dancing Naked Cowboy that is famously spotted parading around in his underoos in the center of New York City. It was actually a youth pastor in Hillsong Church New York. Dr. Michael Brown of Charisma notes:
During an I Love New York celebration at a recent women’s conference hosted by Hillsong in New York City, a Hillsong youth pastor was onstage, dressed up as the Naked Cowboy, meaning that he too was wearing nothing but a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, briefs and a guitar. But hey, after all, what’s wrong with that? We don’t want to get religious now, do we? What’s wrong with a youth pastor standing onstage in his underwear during a women’s conference? (Sarcasm fully intended.)
Yes, you read that right. A Hillsong pastor poses as the ‘Naked Cowboy’, complete with dancing girls, and bearded Lady Liberty.
If what you have read up to this point is not surreal enough in it’s exposure of America’s brand of churchianity, then the following should wake you up to how far in the sewer those who claim to represent the Gospel are willing to crawl.
It appears that Hillsong has not only offended many believers with this outlandish stunt, they may have actually offended The Dancing Naked Cowboy himself, Robert John Burck
better known as the Naked Cowboy, is an American street performer whose pitch is on New York City’s Times Square. He wears only cowboy boots, a hat, and briefs, with a guitar strategically placed to give the illusion of nudity.
In a posting on Church Watch Central, Todd Rubenstein, speaking on behalf of ‘Naked Cowboy’ stated:
I represent Naked Cowboy and own Naked cowboy Enterprises, LLC. I am the sole administrator of the Naked Cowboy® registered trademarks. I am the only person who can provide license of use of anything associated with Naked Cowboy and Hillsong has never requested any right to use our registered trademarks or Naked Cowboy’s likeness.
In addition to it being a clear violation of Mr. Burck’s (AKA Naked Cowboy) right of publicity, it is a direct infringement upon Mr Burck’s registered trademarks.
Mr. Burck is an Ordained Minister & would NEVER attend church in the house of the Lord in his Trade Dress and is EXTREMELY offended by this activity due to his deep Christian beliefs and respect for the process of gathering in the name of Jesus Christ and in the presence of God to worship and praise the Holy Father.
Mr. Burck owns registered trademarks protecting his property rights in both the name “Naked Cowboy” as well as the character’s visual image. Mr. Burck strongly objects to any unauthorized use of his trade name and/or image without proper license and authorization—particularly those instances where, as here, such use is for a plainly commercial purpose and not for the purpose of spreading the Gospel. We are certain that Hillsong and its affiliates are aware of federal trademark law, but they must also be advised that New York’s statutory right of publicity affords Mr. Burck with additional legal protections against unauthorized use of his name and image. In view of these legal restrictions, and in an effort to avoid any further dilution of the value of Mr. Burck’s marks, we will be making a demand to Hillsong—together with any of its affiliates, representatives, agents, employees, and principals— to immediately cease and desist all such unauthorized uses of the Naked Cowboy’s trademarks in addition to taking Federal action in the State of New York to have these violations prosecuted.
So, let’s get this straight:
- Hillsong had a dancing naked cowboy perform at a Christian women’s conference.
- The said cowboy was not the original ‘Naked Cowboy’, but actually a youth pastor from the church.
- The original ‘Naked Cowboy’ is greatly offended that his trademarked illusion of nudity would be used in a church setting.
- The source of the original ‘Naked Cowboy’s offense come from Burck being an ordained minister himself.
If there was ever any doubt that the church has descended into Babylon, those doubts should now be removed.
BAD PRESS AT A BAD TIME – NAKED COWBOY AND THE NEW HILLSONG CHANNEL
The timing of the story could not have been worse for Hillsong, as the organization launches a new 24-hour television channel in partnership with Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). In a press release from PR Newswire:
Global faith-and-family broadcast leader Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and Hillsong Church, one of the most recognized global church and worship ministries, have announced the June 1st launch of the Hillsong Channel, a ground-breaking new 24-hour television network combining dynamic ministry, teaching, and conferences featuring renowned pastors and Christian leaders, with energetic, cutting-edge worship from award-winning singers, songwriters, and musicians.
In announcing the partnership of TBN and Hillsong in the innovative new network, TBN Chairman Matthew Crouch noted the phenomenal influence that Hillsong worship has had across the earth. “Every Sunday at least fifty million Christians sing Hillsong worship songs in churches across the earth,” he said, adding that every day TBN’s thirty-plus inspirational networks are carried around the world on over eighty satellite channels. “Beginning June 1st, nearly a dozen of those satellite channels will be devoted to the newest member of the TBN family — Hillsong Channel,” he said. “That’s how important we feel it is to get the life-changing ministry and worship of Hillsong to every corner of the earth.”
Viewers of Hillsong Channel will have 24-7 front-row access to all the best from Hillsong’s popular international conferences, along with dynamic worship from gifted groups, singers, and songwriters such as Hillsong Worship, Hillsong United, Young & Free, Reuben Morgan, Joel Houston, Taya Smith, and many others. There will also be plenty of life-changing teaching from Christian leaders like Hillsong Senior Pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston, including Bobbie’s “Sisterhood” outreach, which is inspiring and equipping a generation of women to walk in their God-ordained destiny.
Since its beginnings over thirty years ago as one small congregation in Sydney, Australia, Hillsong Church has added vibrant congregations in such key cities as London, Paris, Stockholm, Cape Town, Buenos Aires, New York, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and more — making the ministry of Hillsong truly international in flavor and perspective.
“We are excited about this dynamic new partnership with TBN that will take the message of God’s glory to the nations,” said Hillsong Pastor Brian Houston. “Whether through Hillsong worship and conferences or through other programs and teaching airing on Hillsong Chanel, the whole goal is to bring the Gospel in a real and relevant way to as many people as possible.”
Following its June 1st launch Hillsong Channel will be available to over 77 million U.S. households via:
– TBN’s full-power stations in 37 major markets, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Atlanta, and Miami — to name just a few.
– Major U.S. satellite and cable providers, including DirecTV, Dish Network, Glorystar, AT&T U-verse, Verizon Fios, Comcast, Charter Communications, and Time Warner, along with scores of regional and local cable systems.
Additionally, Hillsong Channel will reach over 100 million television households around the world through Sky and other satellites, as well as via countless in-country cable providers and broadcast channels.
“With its emphasis on award-winning contemporary worship, relevant teaching, and ministry, Hillsong Channel is set to impact millions more individuals and families with the message of hope and grace that has been TBN’s hallmark for the past forty-three years,” said Matthew Crouch. “In fact, we believe that this exciting new partnership between TBN and Hillsong is destined to broaden the scope and outreach of faith television worldwide.”
The Glory Has Departed: The Modern Church as Ichabod
The term Ichabod is found in two places in the Bible,1 Samuel 4:21 and 14:3. Ichabod was the son ofPhinehas and the grandson of Eli, the priest of the Lord in Shiloh. The sad story of Eli and his two wayward sons, Phinehas and Hophni, is found in 1 Samuel, chapters 2 and 4. Hophni and Phinehas died in battle with the Philistines who captured the Ark of the Covenant and took it away from Israel. Upon hearing this terrible news, Eli fell backward off his chair and broke his neck and died. Phinehas’s pregnant wife went into labor and bore a son.
“And she named the child Ichabod, saying, ‘The glory has departed from Israel!’ because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. And she said, ‘The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured’” (1 Samuel 4:21–22). The word Ichabod means literally “inglorious” or “there is no glory,” and in her pain and despair, the woman (who is unnamed in Scripture) lamented over the loss of the glory of God from Israel.
The glory of God is used to describe God’s favor and blessings toward His people. In the Old Testament, God’s glory is seen as a pillar of fire and cloud that followed the Israelites during the exodus from Egypt, guiding and guarding them (Exodus 13:21). Once the Ark of the Covenant was built and placed in the tabernacle in the wilderness, and later in the temple in Jerusalem, God’s glory resided there as a symbol of His presence among His people. When the Ark was captured by the Philistines, the glory departed from the Israelites—Ichabod became a reality.
Jesus later refers to the concept of the glory of God leaving Israel. In His last message to the populace of Israel, His final word to the religious leaders was “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:37–38). That was His final statement of judgment on Israel for the rejection of their Messiah. He has indicted their leaders and, by indicting the leaders, indicted all the people who followed the leaders. And now He says their house is left desolate—Ichabod, the glory is departing.
Notice that He says your house is desolate. Not My house, not My Father’s house, as He used to call it. Now it’s your house because God has left—Ichabod! God is no longer there, it’s not the Father’s house; it’s not My house; it’s your house. The Greek word translated “desolate,” means “abandoned to ruin.” This place is in abandonment. God has left. It’s cursed, devoted to ruination. And they won’t see Jesus again till He comes in full Messianic glory (Matthew 23:39).
It is a terrible thing to experience the loss of the glory of God. And while Israel’s ruin was temporary “until the fullness of the Gentiles” would be brought into the kingdom of God on earth (Romans 11:25), one wonders how many churches today have lost the glory of the Lord, whether willingly or unknowingly. The same things that caused Ichabod in Israel—sin, disobedience, idolatry—are present in many of today’s churches. Christians must never take the glory of God in our midst for granted, lest we wake up one day and find that Ichabod has become a reality among us.
Additional material provided by GotQuestions.org
My Tribute to Jan Crouch
By Mario Murillo
My father in Christ, Ralph Wilkerson said—back in the day—“we are going to be on a television show.” So, we drove to Fontana CA to a storage facility. After driving past row after row of roll up storage units we came to one that was strangely outfitted.
A bed sheet was the backdrop. There was a non-descript light bathing the whole “stage area” which consisted of two folding chairs. Whenever Paul Crouch did the interview, Jan ran the camera. And, when Jan did the interview, Paul ran the camera…this was the beginning of what is now the largest religious television network in the world.
Watching TBN grow up was something straight out of the book of Acts. Being allowed to be a big part of it was amazing. For 30 years I preached on TBN. For ten years we had our own 30 min show on TBN—donated to us by Paul and Jan Crouch.
We were family. Like any family…you have differences. Today…those differences are irrelevant and utterly unimportant.
Jan was larger than life and was never afraid to be herself…that’s for sure! She genuinely loved lost souls. She really did feel profound compassion for poor children around the world. She sincerely loved the moving of the Holy Spirit.
Time after time she would be amen corner as I preached. She would constantly challenge me to “Let the Holy Spirit move!” This resulted in reports of healing flooding in from all over the world. She was this way with every spirit-filled preacher who came to TBN.
She withstood a tidal wave of criticism during her years in broadcasting. She never let it stop her or make her bitter.
You can still hear her voice speaking with such unabashed affection for “our little partners.” That voice—along with her laugh will be sorely, sorely missed.
She was a pioneer who never apologized to anyone for her uniqueness. She is in heaven with Jesus—the Jesus who she so deeply loved, served and followed by faith. At last she is with Him!
I was on the phone for over an hour tonight with my good friend Laura Massey from TBN. You have to understand that I have 40 years of history with The Trinity Broadcasting Network. I consider Laura a very close friend who has been a tremendous blessing to me for many years.
She went out of her way to clarify the misunderstanding that led to a movie preempting the broadcast on Thursday night February 13th. TBN is under contract to broadcast movies in specific timeslots. Two hours before The Praise the Lord Program was to air because of a contractual obligation TBN was required to air the movie.
This was a simple case of miscommunication that ended up causing many people to contact us to ask why a movie was on and not the program they were promised.
Since we did not know any of this when we were asked by so many about what happened we simply said we did not know. Some wondered if there was censorship or if I had said something to offend TBN. I can tell you emphatically that that was not the case. Nothing more should be read into this incident other than miscommunication.
Thank you for listening and God bless you,
Last Thursday Mario Murillo preached a revival message to America on the Trinity Broadcast Network Praise the Lord program. After the show was over we found out, almost by accident, that someone had decided not to air the program and instead, they showed a movie.
For almost 40 years Mario has preached at TBN. We always alert as many people as we can when Mario is going to be on the show. We made a special effort for this particular show because it was a revival message to America.
This is the first time that anything like this has ever happened to us at TBN. You can imagine the confusion when people tuned in expecting to hear the message and instead saw the movie.
We are careful not to announce anything unless it is certain. In this case it was totally out of our control.
Maybe you are wondering why the show was cancelled. We do not know. We have not even been offered an explanation.
We thank God for TBN, and are truly grateful for their help through the years. That is why it feels awkward having to clear the air but the simple fact is we do not know what happened.
Tonight Mario will preach a message on TBN entitled: Excited over nothing.
Before you read the outline of the message we are asking for you to let us know you will be praying for an open door to share all of the counsel of God and for a heart of revival to get in the Body of Christ. – Editors at MMM.
Excited over nothing.
A man once said, “The problem with many women is that they get excited over nothing and then they marry them.”
Tonight I am accusing the American Church of being excited over nothing. Before I get specific let me state the results of being excited over nothing.
We did not lose our nation just because liberals took it but because we gave it away. We did everything to America but convert it to Christ.
Look at how many events, conferences; church services do not invite souls to meet Jesus. Look at all the cities where the Pastors refuse to come together to win souls.
Look at all of the things we are excited about that have nothing to do with winning souls.
Too many Christians are excited by the ridiculous but bored with the sublime.
1. Excited by ridiculous perks: valet parking, slick program, Starbucks coffee and preaching that sounds like fortune cookie sayings, but not Jesus Himself. Church has become a harmless social gathering instead of a sublime threat to the powers of darkness in their community.
-2 Timothy 3:5 “having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
2. Leaders excited by celebrity: Some are so desperate for acceptance they cave in on their convictions about the existence of hell or what the bible says about marriage and do ask the viewer to turn to Christ. Leaders beware if you think that you must be right just because you have a big following.
-Proverbs 25:26 A righteous man who falters before the wicked, is like a murky spring and a polluted well.
3. Excited by mystical experiences but not willing to pay the price for genuine miracles. Beware of binging on prophecy and emotion. Do not place personal words above the Bible and emotional binges above winning souls. We cannot be excited about meetings that bless us but make us look crazy to outsiders.
-1 Corinthians 14: 23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.
4. Hyper-grace teaching that excites but removes the urgency of the lost to repent. Abusing the goodness of God does not make them want to get saved but lets them delay. The spirit is convicting them while was a salving their conscience.
Romans 6: 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?