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Hillsong sex abuse inquiry

Pastor Houston is a founder of the Hillsong Church. Photo: AAP
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Child sex abuse allegations against the man who founded the pentecostal movement which became the Hillsong Church will be examined by a national inquiry.

The sex abuse royal commission will examine how the Sydney Christian Life Centre and Hills Christian Life Centre, (now Hillsong Church) and the Assemblies of God in Australia, (now Australian Christian Churches) treated allegations against the Pentecostal christian pastor Frank Houston and two other men.

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Houston, who died in 2004 aged 82, was considered the father of Sydney’s Pentecostal churches.

He was a Salvation Army officer in his native New Zealand and founded his first Assemblies of God ministry at Lower Hutt in 1960. He later became superintendent of the New Zealand Assemblies of God before moving to Sydney in 1977.

His son Brian Houston fired him from the Hillsong ministry in 2000 when he admitted to pedophilia in New Zealand.

Fairfax reported in 2007 there were further allegations against Frank Houston in Australia.

The church he built at Waterloo merged with his son’s church at Baulkham Hills to become Hillsong – which is now a multi-million dollar mega-church with congregations worldwide.

The public hearing in Sydney starts on October 7 and will also examine the response of the Northside Christian College and the Northside Christian Centre (now Encompass Church) in Bundoora, Victoria and Assemblies of God in Australia to allegations of child sexual abuse made against former teacher Kenneth Sandilands.

The royal commission will also look at the response of the Australian Christian Churches to allegations against Jonathan Baldwin.

Both men are still alive.

Comment has been sought from Hillsong Church.