Hillsong’s ‘Naked Cowboy’ Appears as Half-Naked Santa at ‘Christmas Tropical Party’

The youth leader at Hillsong NYC, who generated controversy earlier this year after appearing at a Christian women’s conference as a look-alike to the city’s famed “Naked Cowboy,” recently was photographed at a “Christmas tropical party” again half-naked—a photo that was later deleted following concerns.

Esther Houston, the wife of Joel Houston, who serves as the leader of the popular worship band Hillsong United and co-pastor of Hillsong NYC, posted the photo to her Instagram this week with the caption “When the Christmas tropical party is lit.”

The photo featured youth leader Diego Simila with his shirt completely unbuttoned to bear his chest and short cut-off jean shorts, while wearing a Santa hat and having a tropical drink. Adjacent to Simila is Houston, a former Brazilian model, posing in a manner that exposed up her thigh.

Some of the commenters under the photo found the snapshot to be humorous.

“Hahahaha @diegosimila!! I’m crying!” one wrote. “Diego, you make my life complete.”

“@diegosimila me and @strazzabeatdown are dying right now!!!” another exclaimed.

But one woman expressed concern about the example that Simila and Houston were setting as professing Christians.

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“How is this glorifying to Jesus Christ?” she asked, and pointed to 1 Thessalonians 5:22, which admonishes Christians to “abstain from all appearance of evil.”

“God will hold you accountable for your poor example to young Christians,” she opined.

One viewer shot back at the woman, stating that she was being “ridiculous,” and contending that there was nothing sinful about the photograph.

But blog sites also picked up on the matter, noting a pattern of concerning behavior within Hillsong.

“Still no sign of Hillsong bearing fruit in keeping with repentance. Just a false Jesus endorsing their sinful lifestyle,” opined the site Church Watch Central.

Houston has since deleted the photograph without explanation.

As previously reported, Simila raised controversy in May when he appeared at Hillsong’s Colour Conference as a “Naked Cowboy” lookalike—a popular New York City figure who walks the streets shirtless and without pants.

“I usually don’t expect to see a near-naked cowboy gyrating from the stage of a Christian women’s conference. … Indeed if I were of the world, I’d expect these sights and sounds to come from a giant bachelorette party at a strip club,” wrote Amy Spreeman of Berean Research.

Hillsong Co-Founder Brian Houston, while expressing concern, refuted those who referred to Simila as being the “Naked Cowboy” since he wasn’t completely naked.

“He was wearing proper shorts, not underwear, and he had a flag draped over him—bare-chested and perhaps inappropriate, certainly unexpected and unauthorized; but not naked,” he said in defense, adding that he and others were not aware of the plan.

“Some well-meaning person just made a silly decision,” Houston asserted. “It won’t happen again.”

Hillsong likewise raised controversy last year over its sold-out Christmas services in London, which included dancing elves, mini-skirt-wearing flappers, shirtless men pounding on drums, Santa Claus and more.


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  • Amos Moses

    brian HOUSTION …………… we have a problem …………….. /SMH …… debauchery, paganism, apostasy, etc. ……………. /SMH …………

  • Karen

    Before David Wilkerson passed away, he said that in the last days, churches will become entertainment centers with a watered down Gospel. We sure are seeing that now!

    • http://www.instagram.com/noelsolisiece Noel Solis

      Let’s hope this does not happen to all Churches

  • maam2u

    they’re cutting it close. but behavior is the key, more so than appearances. how do they behave? what do their followers think is ok in behavior? that’s the test.
    ps this guy is obviously trying to look like KURT COBAIN.
    they will attract a certain type of people. i hope they will actually lead them to Christ, and not just engage in debauchery and “ok it”. ( debauchery will never be ok).
    but no need to expect a christian to be a puritan or a victorian. these people are dressed in clothes that are acceptable on a beach. as long as they don’t overdo it. moderation will do just fine.

  • Rick

    Proverbs 16:30 “Whoever winks his eyes plans dishonest things; he who purses his lips brings evil to pass.”
    It doesn’t take a lot of discernment to see this man’s life is going in the wrong direction.

  • michael louwe

    This is what u call, religious harlotry or prostitution = the sell-off of Christian/godly/holy morals n principles to gain worldly/satanic acceptance, esp happening among Christians in the liberal Blue States of USA, eg Donald Trump just attended Christmas service at a gays-endorsing Episcopal Church in NY.

    REV.17 had prophesied about the religious harlotry between the Roman Catholic Church n the Holy Roman Empire = the Popes selling out Christ for money, political power n influence thru the Roman Emperor.

  • MarMac2768

    The Word of God says, “Come out from AMONG them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord.” This tells me that God wants us to not act like the world, but to SEPARATE ourselves FROM THE WORLD. People like this are acting like the world and God is not pleased ACCORDING TO HIS WORD.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Western nudists again. This group should be really given up by the Christendom altogether… Christianity and the addicts to entertainment do not go together.

  • Kristin Swinnerton

    It made me really sad to read most of these comments… the Bible teaches us that it is a sin to judge others, yet here are comments making so much judgement on other Christians. Let’s let God be God and leave any judgement up to him.

    Matthew 7:1-5 ESV
    “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

    • God1st

      Kristin Swinnerton your reading Matthew 7: out of context. I’m not surprised this is what churchanity preaches.

      Judge not, that you be not judged” is often the wailing cry of false teachers and hardened sinners who misapply the verse to ward off censure for their evil deeds. Do not be intimidated by such people, for Jesus has commanded us to judge with righteous judgment (John 7:24).
      “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 17:15). “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).
      “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). This is reminiscent of Leviticus 19:15. “You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. But in righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.”
      There is a place for righteous judgment. When Christians persist in sin, they are to be judged by their fellow Christians, as Paul explained to the Corinthians: “I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore ‘put away from yourselves that wicked person'” (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).
      When Christians come in conflict, some wise man should be found to judge between his brethren: “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren?”

      • Paul Thomas Adams

        Amen

    • Amos Moses

      “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

      yeah …. most of us do not have the log of being a “naked cowboy” in our eye …… or did you miss the point ….. and so no hypocrisy …… we are to judge righteous judgement …. where is the righteousness of a supposed christian as a “naked cowboy” ……….

    • Paul Thomas Adams

      Oh Kristen once again a babe in the world who still finds themselves on the teat from a soft pulpit. So let’s just quit calling sensing because it might offend someone and hurt their precious feelings. Let’s do away with the courts, why should we judge whether someone stole something, or assaulted or raped, after all according to you, Jesus said we shouldn’t judge these people but wait are you making one sin greater than the other ? I truly should check for the log in my own eye before I mentioned the speck in yours but it is actually my scriptural Duty as a Christian do not say nothing when I see sin that is harmful to the kingdom or the individuals salvation and well-being. Take 2 minutes out of your life and read the following.

      Judge not … – This command refers to rash, censorious, and unjust judgment. See Romans 2:1. Luke Luk 6:37 explains it in the sense of “condemning.” Christ does not condemn judging as a magistrate, for that, when according to justice, is lawful and necessary. Nor does he condemn our “forming an opinion” of the conduct of others, for it is impossible “not” to form an opinion of conduct that we know to be evil. But what he refers to is a habit of forming a judgment hastily, harshly, and without an allowance for every palliating circumstance, and a habit of “expressing” such an opinion harshly and unnecessarily when formed. It rather refers to private judgment than “judicial,” and perhaps primarily to the customs of the scribes and Pharisees.

  • LadyInChrist♥BlessedBeTheLord

    May the Will of God be done for Hillsong’s * Naked Cowboy*

  • Roy Hobs

    The joy of Eternal Security.

  • Paul Thomas Adams

    So out come the politically correct Christians taking Matt 7:1-5 out of context, once again a babe in the world who still finds themselves on the teat from a soft pulpit. So let’s just quit calling since for whwhat it is, Sin, because it might offend someone and hurt their precious feelings. Let’s do away with the courts, why should we judge whether someone stole something, or assaulted or raped, after all according to you, Jesus said we shouldn’t judge these people, but wait are you making one sin greater than the other ? I truly should check for the log in my own eye before I mentioned the speck in yours, but it is actually my scriptural Duty as a Christian to speak up instead of not say anything when I see sin that is harmful to the kingdom or the individuals salvation and well-being. Take 2 minutes out of your life and read the following.

    Judge not … – This command refers to rash, censorious, and unjust judgment. See Romans 2:1. Luke Luk 6:37 explains it in the sense of “condemning.” Christ does not condemn judging as a magistrate, for that, when according to justice, is lawful and necessary. Nor does he condemn our “forming an opinion” of the conduct of others, for it is impossible “not” to form an opinion of conduct that we know to be evil. But what he refers to is a habit of forming a judgment hastily, harshly, and without an allowance for every palliating circumstance, and a habit of “expressing” such an opinion harshly and unnecessarily when formed. It rather refers to private judgment than “judicial,” and perhaps primarily to the customs of the scribes and Pharisees.

  • Paul Thomas Adams

    As a Christian and as a minister, love will always be first , but I will continue to call sin a sin when I see it and will also continue to judge the sin and not the individual.

  • michael louwe

    @ Kristen Swinnerton, ……. At MATTHEW.7:1, the Lord Jesus Christ was referring to the Pharisees having the wrong judgment about the kingdom of heaven(= spiritual matters) since they were rejecting Him as their Messiah/Christ/Savior. They even wrongly judged Jesus Christ as being demon-possessed.
    ……. This was attested when JC followed the statement, “Judge not, that you be not judged” with the statement, “14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
    .
    The Pharisees wrong judgment led them to “murdering” JC on the Cross in 33AD. For this, God cursed them(ROMANS.12:19-21) into being annihilated n their Holy Temple of Jerusalem destroyed by the Roman Army in 70AD. What happened.?
    ……. After getting rid of the true Christ bc He did not give them back their kingdom of earth or Israel/Judah(JOHN.6:15), the Pharisees raised up false christs/messiahs to lead them into armed rebellion against the Roman rulers/occupiers/colonizers = the Jewish-Roman Wars.(MATT.24:24, LUKE.21:20)
    ……. This was the log that was inside the Pharisees’ eyes, ie could not see the kingdom of heaven n could only see the kingdom of earth/Israel.

  • M Welly

    ‘the vision and beyond ‘ by Dave Wilkerson page 68 – in the chapter titled Persecution madness, nude dancing will be accepted by many ‘church leaders’ as a ‘legitimate expression of worshippers seeking to find “the beauty of the soul through the beauty of human form.”
    so much for “run from youthful lusts” 2 Tim 2:22

  • billinghamboy

    Great pity.Charismania surpassed by pantomime.Those of us who don’t like the way things seem to be going need to be like those who,in despair over the state of the youth in the Church, hit the ground praying and experienced revival in the Hebrides.

  • Gbec1234

    As much as I agree that this is extremely inappropriate behavior for any type of church leadership I also think you should have never posted this article. Let the church discipline this individual instead of an internet site publically ridiculing him. That is also behavior of the world not Christians. Shame on you!

  • http://www.instagram.com/noelsolisiece Noel Solis

    This is embarrassing