Carl Lentz: Hillsong New York
Lentz is not your papa’s preacher. He's not a preacher of God's Word, either. Lentz repeatedly compromises for the culture, often shrouding the truth in confusion and ambiguity to placate (lukewarm) Believers and non-believers alike. To avoid stepping on toes with the truth, Lentz simply opts to tiptoe around it to remain in good graces with the cool kids. He is the “spiritual guide” to celebrities like Justin Bieber, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and more. His approach to pastoring isn’t to shepherd his flock per the requirements of 1 Timothy 3 or Titus 1 (especially Titus 1:9). Instead, Lentz is more of a well-groomed bro who will pray and take shots with you. Whenever asked his views on sin, Lentz is known to give a lukewarm response, failing to answer the question head on and claiming that it isn’t his job to call sin for what it is. Rather, he says, his focus is more on getting to know people personally that he might deal with those matters on a case-by-case basis, behind closed doors.
Abortion? Lentz says, “That’s the kind of conversation we would have finding out your story, where you’re from, what you believe.” Homosexuality? Lentz says, “We have a lot of gay men and women in our church. I pray we always do.” He adds, “When it comes to homosexuality, I refuse to let another human being or immediate moment dictate how we approach it.” But God's holy standards are objective and His truth is absolute. We can certainly approach such matters with gentleness and care as we minister to individuals, namely those who sincerely are lost. But we have to tell them the truth! Their eternal soul depends on it, and their blood is on our hands if we don't warn them (Ezekiel 3:18)! And when God grants us an opportunity to get the word out, we've gotta O.T.M., bro! OWN THE MOMENT! Or as, Scripture says, "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching" (2 Timothy 4:2).
- Is abortion a sin? Short answer: Yes. For the Bible says: The Lord created mankind in His image, forms each of us in our mother's wombs and ordains our days even before He knits us together (Genesis 1:27; Job 31:15). We have free will, but we have no sovereign rights over our fellow man. As such, we are not permitted to take a life - especially the life of an innocent, unborn baby - for reasons we, mere creations ourselves, have determined are justified (Exodus 20:13). Our God-given dominion is over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8:6-8). But we DO NOT have dominion over one another. God, who rules over all creation, is especially mindful of mankind (Psalm 8:4; Matthew 10:30-31). If He cares for a sparrow that falls, of course He cares if an innocent human child is being dissolved, suctioned out of, or ripped apart in his own mother's womb, which should be a nurturing environment.
- Is homosexuality a sin? Short answer: Yes. For the Bible says: The Lord created mankind male and female, and He ordained marriage as the union between one man (an adult human biological male) and one woman (an adult human biological female) (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6). And since sex is reserved only for marriage, homosexual sex is an automatic affront to God. In fact, it is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27; Hebrews 13:4).
- Can one be a homosexual Christian? Short answer: No. For the Bible says: There is no such thing as a homosexual in Christ, because in Him we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). We put off our old sinful practices, and we are born again of the Holy Spirit, Who dwells in us and helps us live a holy life according to God’s righteous standard (John 16:13; Galatians 5:25; Romans 8:26-27). “Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such WERE some of you. BUT YOU WERE WASHED, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:10-11). If homosexuality, or any other sin, feels natural, it's because it is a product of our sin nature. But one struggling with this sin, as with all other sins, can be delivered by the power of Jesus Christ, who makes all things new and is restoring creation back to God’s “good” design (Acts 3:19-21).
Lentz is even tepid on matters that aren’t political hot topics. When Oprah asked him if only Christians can have a relationship with God, Lentz replied, “No, I believe that when Jesus said that ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life,’ the way I read that, Jesus said that he is the road marker, he is the map, so I think that God loves people so much, that whether they accept or reject him, he’s still gracious, and he’s still moving, and he’s still giving you massive red blinking lights, for chances to take a right turn when maybe you’d take a left, but I believe God loves people, and that’s what this whole gospel is based on, it’s love…”
For the record, that response was a very nasty, convoluted perversion of the Gospel. The Gospel is based on love, indeed. But that love holds up God’s holy standards/commandments (Matthew 22:40; 1 John 5:3). If you love someone, you will tell them God’s truth - and the truth is all mankind were born into sin and, apart from Christ, mankind stands subject to the wrath of God (John 3:18). That’s why we need to be SAVED and born AGAIN (John 3:3). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that WHOSOEVER believes on Him will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). There is no such thing as a gospel based on love if that love isn’t explicitly compelling others to repent of sin and turn to God through Jesus Christ.