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Cult Of Hillsong: “Sin Files” on Members & Attendees?

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For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.  Psalm 103:11-12

Relief.  It’s perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when the Holy Spirit has raised a dead soul to life in the miracle of regeneration. We are, as a result of no act of our own, forgiven our sins by an utterly righteous, exceedingly holy, and supremely sovereign God. When we apprehend the Gospel and the glorious implication of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us for eternity, though sin will still taunt and we shall still falter, the relief over the intentional forgetfulness of God for our now forgiven sin is to apprehend something of His magnificent grace.

David captured this truth in his “Bless The Lord, O My Soul” Psalm cited above. The truth is given by the Lord Himself through the prophet Isaiah, “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Isaiah 43:25) King Hezekiah, earlier in the book of Isaiah, acknowledged this truth of God, “for you have cast all my sins behind your back.” (Isaiah 38:17). Micah, too, would point the faithful to that time when God “will have again compassion on us” and would “tread our iniquities underfoot” and “cast all our sins into the sea.” (Micah 7:19)

But the Biblical truth of God’s eternal forgiveness and forgetfulness seems not to be a Christian trait honored by the falsely-called “church” of Hillsong. In fact, where God forgives and forgets, Hillsong allegedly records and retains.  It apparently keeps a database of sins.

Called the “sin files,” it’s alleged by at least one former insider that Hillsong (the “church” which, under Brian Houston, is known to have covered up the pedophilia of Houston’s father Frank.  See HERE or HERE for more on this.) maintains a database that records private information about members and attendees, particularly youth.  (SOURCE)

According to the insider, “The sin files was a database of information that we kept on youth group attendees. A youth would confide in their connect leader, “ says the insider, who “would enter it [the confidential information, confession, or whatever the leader presumably found noteworthy] into the system. It was done without their knowledge, without parental consent.”

Hillsong, for a church, does seem to have a rather extensive “Privacy Policy.” Found on its main website, the Hillsong Privacy Policy “sets out how we will collect, use, store, disclose, and de-identify your personal information.”

Excerpt, Hillsong Privacy Policy from

Why does the church need to collect information beyond the basic contact information or donation records? Why does it need such things as “idiosyncratic or personal information?” Why is it collecting information not only from the individual directly but also information “we collect from others?”

What’s Hillsong do with this information?  Well, according to their policy, the “church” will use the information it maintains in any way it sees fit … “in the furtherance of our objects and purposes.” This, of course, is legally qualified with the caveat “where it is reasonably required by law.”

According, though, to the insider source, the sin file on a youth (whether a member or merely a Hillsong attendee) “was sensitive information used to screen people if they wanted to step into leadership.” Hmm. Was confidential information of a youth’s sin used, one wonders, to effectively blackmail the youth with leadership potential in order to keep them within the cult-like confines of Hillsong authority? Was it to keep them beholden to their Hillsong confessors?

The insider states one manner, at least, in which the information was used. He says “…often it was used to isolate and make fun of people.”

Hillsong Pastor Scott "Sanga" Samways
Hillsong Pastor Scott “Sanga” Samways

This “Christian church” practice of “sin files” is alleged to have begun under the leadership of Hillsong Pastor Scott (Sanga) Samways. Samways, according to is “Newcastle Campus Pastor,” who also “oversees Youth Alive NSW, an evangelistic ministry focused on reaching the Youth Generation with the message of Jesus Christ, running large scale events for young people.” Given what the insider has revealed about Hillsong’s “sin files” database and the continuing growth of the heretical, prosperity gospel cult of Hillsong, those “large scale events” must certainly also require some “large scale” databases.

The Biblical message of Jesus Christ, when it is properly preached and soundly taught, includes the glorious joy of eternal forgiveness granted by the pleasure of a God who “will not remember your sins.”  That a church would intentionally maintain a database of confessed sins or “idiosyncratic” information on individual members or visiting attendees to use for any purpose it deems fitting isn’t Christian.  Rather, it’s decidedly cultic.

There may be great freedom for the soul liberated unto life by divine regeneration (Galatians 5:1), but for the soul entrenched in the heresy of Hillsong, being freed from the bondage of sin may only mean being transferred to the enslavement of Hillsong.  God may forget your sins, but the cult of Hillsong, it seems, will not.

For more on Hillsong, see HERE.


[Contributed by Bud Ahlheim]