Oh, You Didn’t Know? Hillsong and the Broadway Boyfriends

“…many look to our church (Hillsong NYC) as a model of modern Christianity to be emulated.” Josh Canfield, Hillsong NYC Choir Director

It’s an all-too-common occurrence for someone to experience the “coming out” of a homosexual associate, friend, or family member.  However, what’s not often so common is shock at the official news that a certain person is gay.  Just ask yourself, “How often have I been genuinely surprised by the official ‘out of the closet’ revelation that someone I knew quite well was a homosexual?” From my own personal experience, I can attest that surprise to such announcements is rare.  That’s why I’m incredulous to any notion that the leadership of Hillsong NYC was unaware that one its choir directors, Josh Canfield, was a practicing homosexual before he announced his “engagement” to his boyfriend, with whom he had appeared on CBS reality show Survivor. Hillsong NYC almost certainly knew that it had a high-profile homosexual man, in an ongoing homosexual relationship, leading worship at the church.  They almost certainly didn’t have problem with it until a pesky blogger made the situation public and jeopardized Hillsong’s status as a titan of the evangelical music, conference, and publishing industry.

Canfield and Kelly

When I was high school, there was a boy named Daniel on our cheerleading squad. He wasn’t the burly sort of male cheerleader who throws girls high into the air and catches them; he was not on the squad to provide muscle.  Some months ago his mother was interviewed by my town’s local paper.  She is an “elder” at a PCUSA church.  She was being interviewed because she had recently started an LGBT support group at her church, complete with a Facebook page.  During the course of the interview, she told the story of her son “coming out” to her and her coming to terms with it.  She mentioned reading Matthew Vines to learn more about a biblical position on homosexuality.  When I read the article, I was unsurprised.   There was never any story about Daniel coming out at school but everybody could just tell that he was gay.  No one ever made a big deal of it; it’s just what it was.

I went to school with another young man named, Charlie.  We were both on the academic bowl team.  He was active in the youth group at the largest Southern Baptist Church in town.  I remember him telling me one day at academic bowl practice that he was going to do Sunday School report on Playboy magazine and the dangers of pornography.  I can remember thinking to myself, “Maybe he should do his report on Playgirl.” Charlie exhibited certain mannerisms.  Years later, Charlie “came out.”  I was neither shocked nor surprised.  He’s still my friend; it is what it is.

One of my close friends growing up was a boy named Brandon.  He and his parents had undergone a born again experience and left a local United Methodist church for the Southern Baptist church that I attended.  His mother taught Sunday School and his family often hosted church events at their house.   They were, as his sister has described them, “very Christian.”  Brandon had an effeminate younger brother named Trevor who was interested in acting.   Trevor’s family was the most outwardly evangelical Christian one in town, very high profile.  No one ever mentioned to me that Trevor might be gay and as far as I knew no one talked about it.  As Trevor entered his high school years, his mother moved with him to NYC he could study drama.  He never quite made it in the acting business but his sister Chloe did.  When I saw an article online that Chloe was protective of her gay brother, I was not at all surprised to see that she was referring to Trevor.  No one ever needed to tell me, especially not Trevor, that he was gay.  I could just tell.

Daniel, Charlie, and Trevor were kids and to my knowledge were not overtly active in a homosexual lifestyle to the degree that Josh Canfield has been.  Unlike Canfield, these boys were not and are not (to my knowledge) leaders in a church.  This is not the case with “the Broadway Boyfriends.”  According to Josh Canfield and his “fiancé” Mr. Reed:

“Josh has been with Hillsong for eight years in a variety of ways: choir director, vocal director, and worship team. I’ve been there since the beginning of our relationship, over three years ago, and eventually began singing in the choir and opening my apartment as the gathering place for a connect group for Hillsong members in the Broadway and theatrical communities.”

The Survivor episodes on which they appeared filmed in 2014 and aired in May of 2015.  Reed and Canfield announced their engagement in January 2015.  A Youtube Video of the Hillsong choir director singing to and proposing to his boyfriend is online for all to see and has 70,000+ views.


Eight months after the Stand Up For the Truth Blog broke a story about Hillsong NYC’s gay choir director, the Hillsong organization released a press release that said the following:

“Several months ago when one of our choir directors made an unexpected public statement regarding his engagement to a man who sometimes sang in the choir, it was a complete surprise to us as well.”

Does Brian Houston expect people to believe that the Hillsong NYC leadership was “surprised” about the life choices of these long-time, active members…the ones who were close enough to get “engaged”…the ones who work on Broadway?  What does the timeline and common sense tell you?

But what’s the broader issue? It’s not that Hillsong is obviously misleading the public. They have been misleading people about the gospel for years.  Is Hillsong somehow worse now for having a gay choir director and denying knowledge of his unrepentant sin?

I wasn’t surprised when the PCUSA female “elder” started the LGBT support group.  Her church is apostate.  I wasn’t surprised, quite frankly, to hear that Hillsong NYC had a gay choir director.  Hillsong is an apostate word-faith prosperity gospel organization.  Southern Baptist Seminary President and leading conservative theologian Albert Mohler called Hillsong a prosperity movement for millennial that minimizes the content of the gospel. JD Hall recently shared videos of the Hillsong NYC pastor, Carl Lentz, absolutely butchering bible history.

Hillsong is an apostate, multi-site false church.  Its pastors are wolves, ravenous ones.  A lost person who has been involved there for eight years, leading worship, says the church is seen as a model for modern Christianity to be emulated when Christendom is truly an ancient faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints.  Hillsong is apparently looking to be “modern” but in reality it is full of leaders who are nothing more than new age outlaws who thumb their noses at God as apostates have for thousands of years.

What orthodox Christian should care what Hillsong does or how many unrepentant homosexuals it has leading worship all over the world?

The one whose own church has been infiltrated by Hillsong’s music and other media.

Christian, your pastor may not know Hillsong is apostate but now you do.  What are you going to do about it?

[Contributed by Seth Dunn]

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

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Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Member of the Evangelical Theological Society Certified Public Accountant