Hillsong hit the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald this morning with an exposé of Mercy Ministries.
In an article entitled, "They sought help, but got exorcism and the Bible", it was said:
A SECRETIVE ministry with direct links to Gloria Jean's Coffees and the Hillsong Church has been deceiving troubled young women into signing over months of their lives to a program that offers scant medical or psychiatric care, instead using Bible studies and exorcisms to treat mental illness.
Government agencies such as Centrelink have also been drawn into the controversy, as residents are required to transfer their benefits to Mercy Ministries. There are also allegations that the group receives a carers payment to look after the young women.
Read the SMH article on Hillsong for more.
I then took a peek over at the Mercy Ministries website which said:
Mercy Ministries is a national non profit organisation dedicated to providing homes and care for young women suffering the effects of eating disorders, self harm, abuse, depression, unplanned pregnancies and other life controlling issues.
Mercy Ministries is a structured residential based program that provides professional support from psychologists, dieticians, general practitioners, social workers, career counsellors and daily education from program staff to support the young women in our care.
We provide a holistic program that addresses all aspects of a young woman’s well being; physical, spiritual and emotional. Mercy Ministries is a faith based organisation dedicated to the support of young women in crisis.
I am left wondering what to make of this. There has been a lot of scare mongering about Hillsong in the past which, in the fullness of time, turned out to be grounded in only the loosest of facts in a sea of innuendo.
In fact (and this is pure co-incidence) only last night I was having a laugh with my brother-in-law, a Hillsong member, about the Today Tonight's last exposé on Hillsong's alleged manipulation of Australian Idol votes. This exposé turned into a farce once it became apparent that no Hillsong members were actually in the competition - hence my mirth.
So, despite some misgivings that I do have about the way Hillsong operate (I am no apologist for them by any stretch of the imagination) I have learnt not to take these journalist outings at face value. For instance, how "secretive" is a ministry that has a flashy web page? And, would a "holistic" ministry pushing New Age style spirituality have coped the same flack as one pushing Pentecostal style spirituality? So I am left wondering what the real truth of this matter is.