Christian radio host Michael Brown is stumped why Hillsong Church did a racy rendition of the Christmas song "Silent Night" last year. Many Christians were upset with their performance of the song, which included cabaret dancers, and they even dubbed it as "Unholy Night."
"From the dissonant jazzy sounds to the cabaret dancers, it was nothing less than shockingly irreverent," he writes in an article for Charisma News. "Not surprisingly, there were online articles denouncing Hillsong, and friends contacted me, asking me to please write my own article about this travesty."
Brown says he wanted to get Hillsong's side regarding the matter, but he has "no open door to interact directly with Hillsong leaders," despite the many attempts he made in the past to do so.
"Obviously, I didn't have all the facts, but what possible explanation could there be? The whole cabaret arrangement was atrocious, inexcusable, irreverent, mocking... The list goes on and on," he says. "Still, I did not want to speak or act without more information or a clear leading from the Lord."
As appalled as he was by their rendition, Brown says he does not want to "judge according to appearance, but practice righteous judgment (John 7:24)."
He urges people to do the same.
He says there are several things in life that will make people judge. Sometimes the judging is easy because things are "black and white, such as when a professing Christian leader announces that he now embraces same-sex marriage," he says.
But in some instances when people don't have all complete sides of the story, Brown believes it is best to "use discernment and walk in wisdom."
He explains that this hateful version of "Silent Night" was designed to be despicable in every way since it was written and produced to portray Herod's alleged desire to worship the newborn King.
That version was meant to be the materialistic world's concept of Silent Night, which was anything but holy.
Later in the Christmas play, in adoration of Jesus, "Silent Night" was sung again, this time the right way, in stark contrast with Herod's version, the pastor says.
"The Hillsong 'Unholy Night' controversy reminds us that we must be very careful in how we make our judgments, not judging by mere outward appearances but rather judging righteously," Brown says. "It's a lesson we should all learn well, since we will be judged in the same way that we judge others. And it's a lesson I try to remember before I ever write or speak, since it's far better to wait and be sure than to launch an unrighteous attack."