Hillsong Worship So Will I 100 Billion X Controversy

Speedy Summary

What happens if a worship song has a phrase that could be interpreted as heretical or problematic? Is it still OK to sing? We take a look at the popular Hillsong United song, “So Will I (100 Billion X)” and a questionable word that has led worship pastors to drop the song from their setlists. In this admittedly powerful song, the writers mention evolution. For some, the controversy is contrived and the discussion is nothing more than splitting hairs. The word could be easily be understood as a colorful way of discussing sanctification. Complicating matters is the outspoken support for evolution from the song’s writer. Is this just artistic license? Can worship leaders sing, “So Will I (100 Billion X),” or is it teaching false doctrine?


Why the controversy? So Will I lyrics and Hillsong

“So Will I (100 Billion X)” is a song by Hillsong United, written by Joel Houston, Benjamin Hastings and Michael Fatkin, on their album Wonder.[1] While the album was released in June of 2017, “So Will I” was released as a single on January 5, 2018.[2] In the year that followed, there was considerable controversy pertaining to three lines:

“And as You speak/A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath/Evolving in pursuit of what You said.”[3]

Critics have taken this to mean that the song endorses evolution.[4]

Background on Hillsong Church

We should first look at the church that the band is associated with and what they believe. Hillsong, pastored by Brian Houston, is a charismatic church in Sydney, Australia. Founded in 1983, the church boasts a weekly attendance of many thousands people. Its worship bands, Hillsong Worship, Hillsong United, Young and Free, amongst others, have gained renown across the world. Singers such as Brooke Fraser have parlayed their Hillsong roles into successful solo careers.

What Hillsong believes

Hillsong itself is closely associated with the Australian Christian Churches (ACC) and defers to them for more on their “Statement of Belief.”[5] While the ACC does not mention beliefs about origins on their “About Us” page,[6]