Brian Houston Releases Statement on 2022 DUI
Scandal continues to plague the life of former megachurch pastor Brian Houston, as he admitted on Tuesday (March 28) that he was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in Feb. 2022 while in the United States.
Houston was arrested on Feb. 26, 2022, in Newport Beach, California, after allegedly driving with a blood alcohol content of .08% or more and failing to display two license plates on the vehicle he was driving, according to The Christian Post.
The arrest came amid Houston’s slide out of favor with Hillsong Church, the Australian headquartered megachurch with global reach that he founded 40 years ago.
In Aug. 2021, charges were brought against Houston for allegedly covering up the child sex abuse of his late father, pastor Frank Houston. The next month, Houston stepped down from his roles on the church’s boards to focus on defending himself in court.
In Jan. 2022, Houston announced that he would be taking a year-long sabbatical from pastoral leadership at Hillsong for the same reason.
It was later revealed by the Hillsong Global Board that Houston’s sabbatical was also the result of disciplinary action for two instances within the span of a decade in which Houston acted inappropriately toward women, as well as for abuse of alcohol and prescription anxiety medication.
After the Global Board publicly disclosed Houston’s alleged moral failures, Houston resigned as global senior pastor of Hillsong Church in March 2022.
Houston’s DUI arrest occurred in the time between the start of his compulsory sabbatical and his eventual resignation.
Nevertheless, the arrest did not apparently play a role in the deterioration of the relationship between Houston and Hillsong Church.
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“The global board and leadership of Hillsong Church did not become aware that Pastor Brian Houston had been charged in the USA for driving under the influence until after he had resigned as pastor of Hillsong,” the church said in a statement. “As he was no longer on staff, this was a personal matter for Pastor Brian to deal with. As always we continue to keep the Houston family in our prayers.”
Houston posted a statement to social media regarding the arrest on Tuesday, saying he takes “full responsibility” for his actions.
“In February 2022, and In (sic) the lead up to my departure from the role of Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church, I was unfortunately charged with Driving Under The Influence of alcohol in the USA,” Houston wrote. “I made the foolish decision to drive just 2 or 3 hundred metres (yards) to park the car and I am grateful to God that no damage or injury occurred.”
“At the time it seemed like all hell had broken loose within Hillsong Church and I was under immense pressure and emotional strain. Clearly that is not an excuse, and I take full responsibility for my actions,” the statement went on to say. “Thirteen months have [passed] since that incident occurred and I am now in a much stronger place within my spirit and soul.”
Houston concluded, “I am grateful to God for His sustenance and grace, and I am grateful for trusted ministry friends who, along with Bobbie and our family, have offered their constant love and support in a very difficult and disruptive season. We are looking forward together to a fruitful season ahead.”
While a fair bit of speculation has surrounded Houston’s relationship with alcohol and other substances, in Nov. 2022, Houston vehemently denied having an ongoing substance abuse problem, referring to the implication as “whispering and innuendo.”
The news of Houston’s Feb. 2022 comes alongside recent allegations that Hillsong Church misused church funds to furnish the lavish lifestyles of church leaders, including Houston.
In the wake of those allegations, new global senior pastor of Hillsong Phil Dooley announced that the church would “commission a third-party evaluation of its financial structure and processes.”
Legal proceedings against Houston for the alleged coverup of his father’s child sex abuse are ongoing.
This article was originally published by ChurchLeaders.com.
Main photo: Screengrab via Facebook @pastorbrianhouston