Hillsong Pastor Fired for Adultery

Pastor Carl Lentz

Prominent Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz, who has been called the “Apostle of Cool,” was fired on November 4 for adultery. Hillsong is a megachurch in Sydney, Australia, that has branched out in recent decades to establish chapters in many parts of the world. Formerly aligned with the Assembly of God, it is now an independent denomination with branches in major cities of 28 countries. All are under the direction of the mother church, Hillsong in Sydney, and the oversight of Brian Houston and a board of elders. Hillsong is also one of the most influential publishers of Contemporary Worship Music. Carl Lentz and his wife, Laura, were the co-pastors of Hillsong New York City, a hyper-cool church that boasts several celebrities as members or attendees, including pop star Justin Bieber, who in 2014 was baptized by Carl Lentz in the bathtub of a pro-basketball player. The adultery is no great surprise in light of Lentz’s personal lifestyle and the history and character of Hillsong. In 2002, Frank Houston (Brian’s father), founder of Hillsong Sydney, was fired for sexually abusing a boy, and in 2015 a royal commission censured Brian for covering up his father’s immorality. In 2001, Hillsong Sydney’s co-pastor, Bobbie Houston, produced a series of sexually explicit teaching tapes entitled Kingdom Women Love Sex. In May 2016, Hillsong New York City hosted a Hillsong Women’s Conference that featured scantily-dressed “cheerleaders,” an Elvis impersonator, and a “naked cowboy” wearing only a cowboy hat, boots, and a guitar. The cowboy was Hillsong New York City’s youth pastor, Diego Simla. In 2014, in an interview with CNN, Laura Lentz spoke to the issue of homosexuality by saying, “It’s not our place to tell anyone how they should live, it’s–that’s their journey.” In 2017, Lentz and Bieber were photographed in New Zealand drinking heavily and partying in a tavern. Later that year, Lentz refused to condemn abortion as sin, saying, “God’s the judge. People have to live to their own convictions” (“Hillsong Pastor,” ChristianHeadlines.com, Nov. 7, 2017). In 2019, Yelp identified Hillsong Los Angeles as one of the top ten “gay friendly churches” in the city. “This says something about Hillsong. A homosexual can walk in, sit down, be entertained, and not have their conscience pricked by the preaching of the biblical gospel and a call to repent of sins and come to Christ” (“Hillsong Listed in Top Ten,” Reformationcharlotte, Sept. 3, 2019). In June 2020, Lentz proudly posted a video of his daughter screaming rage at police at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in New York City. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). (For more about Hillsong and their music see The Satanic Attack on Sacred Music, a free video series available at www.wayoflife.org.)

(Friday Church News Notes, November 27, 2020, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143)