US

Sacked Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz reveals he cheated on his wife

Sacked Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz has confessed to cheating on his wife of more than a decade – revealing that his infidelity was the reason for his sudden firing. 

The 41-year-old father-of-three, who rose to notoriety after baptizing his close friend Justin Bieber in 2014, came forward on Thursday afternoon to admit to being unfaithful to his wife Laura, who was also a pastor with the celebrity-loved mega-church.

‘I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life and held accountable for that,’ he wrote in a lengthy Instagram post, which also featured a picture of him posing with his wife and their three children – daughter Ava, 16, and sons Charlie, 14, and Roman. 

‘This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions.’

Confession: Sacked Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz has confessed to cheating on his wife Laura, revealing his infidelity was the reason he was fired from the celebrity-loved mega-church

His candid confession came just one day after Lentz, who co-founded the New York City branch of the Australian church back in 2010, was fired by the organization’s leader Brian Houston, who accused the pastor of ‘moral failures’ and ‘breaches of trust’ in a statement issued on Wednesday. 

‘This action has been taken following ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures,’ Mr Houston revealed, however he claimed that it would ‘not be appropriate’ to share more details of Lentz’s alleged offences. 

Mr Houston added that this course of action was ‘not taken lightly and was done in the best interests of everyone, including Pastor Carl’. 

Carl Lentz, a pastor at celebrity-loved mega-church Hillsong, has been fire by its founder - six years after he baptized close friend Justin Bieber (seen together in 2017)

Carl Lentz, a pastor at celebrity-loved mega-church Hillsong, has been fire by its founder – six years after he baptized close friend Justin Bieber (seen together in 2017) 

The 41-year-old, who is pictured with his Australian wife Laura, has been accused of 'breaches of trust' and 'moral failures' in a statement issued by the church

The 41-year-old, who is pictured with his Australian wife Laura, has been accused of ‘breaches of trust’ and ‘moral failures’ in a statement issued by the church  

Lentz is understood to have first met Bieber back in 2008, when the popstar was just 14 years old, and the two formed a close friendship, with Lentz serving as a mentor for the singer

Lentz is understood to have first met Bieber back in 2008, when the popstar was just 14 years old, and the two formed a close friendship, with Lentz serving as a mentor for the singer

In his letter sent to Hillsong East Coast members, which was obtained by Instagram account Deux Moi, Houston admitted that people may still have questions, and urged them to email the mega-church’s leadership team with any queries. 

‘But as sudden as this feels to us, we must remember that it’s not a shock to God, who birthed Hillsong NYC and already has planned for this time,’ he continued, before revealing that the church has not yet found a replacement for the fired pastor. 

Lentz, who was born in Virginia Beach, first began working with Hillsong in Australia after relocating there from Los Angeles, where he spent time studying at The King’s College and Seminary. 

The father-of-three rose quickly within Hillsong’s ranks and formed a close friendship with Houston and his son Joel while training at the church’s International Leadership College in Sydney, where he met his wife, Laura. 

In 2010, he moved back to the US in order to co-found the New York City chapter of Hillsong, which soon amassed a major celebrity following, with Lentz preaching to the likes of Bieber, Selena Gomez, Hailey Bieber, and several NBA stars including Carmelo Anthony, David Lee, Kevin Durant, and Jeremy Lin.

However it was Lentz’s close relationship with Bieber, now 26, that gained him the most notoriety, particularly after it was revealed that the popstar had been baptized by the pastor in 2014, and even moved in with Lentz and his wife for six weeks in the same year. 

Speaking to the GQ in 2015, Lentz – who first met the popstar in 2008, when the singer was just 14 – recalled the moment Bieber got down on his knees, ‘ravaged by loss’ and sobbed, telling the pastor: ‘I want to know Jesus’. 

According to the magazine account, the baptism finished with Bieber ‘wet and sobbing against Pastor Carl’s chest… born anew’. 

It played a central role in transforming Bieber’s image from a partying ladies’ man to a clean-cut Christian devotee. His wife, Hailey Bieber, is also a believer, and the two are frequently spotted in church together. 

In 2017, it was reported by People that Lentz had been enlisted by Bieber and his ex-girlfriend Gomez to offer spiritual guidance and counselling about their relationship after they briefly rekindled their romance. 

Lentz’s celebrity connections and close friendship with Bieber have helped him to become something of a star in his own right, skyrocketing him to prominence on Instagram, where he boasts more than 679,000 followers.  

 

Speaking out: Hillsong founder Brian Houston shared the news with church members in an letter sent on Wednesday (pictured). A similar statement was issued publicly later that day

Speaking out: Hillsong founder Brian Houston shared the news with church members in an letter sent on Wednesday (pictured). A similar statement was issued publicly later that day

Bieber formed a very close relationship with the pastor (seen together in Australia), who counselled the star and ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez when they rekindled their romance in 2017

Bieber formed a very close relationship with the pastor (seen together in Australia), who counselled the star and ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez when they rekindled their romance in 2017 

Now a father-of-three, Lentz has previously said that he and Bieber (pictured together with Lil Wayne) are 'regular friends who talk all the time'

Now a father-of-three, Lentz has previously said that he and Bieber (pictured together with Lil Wayne) are ‘regular friends who talk all the time’

His sudden sacking therefore sparked a flurry of speculation on social media, with many calling for Hillsong to reveal more information about Lentz’s alleged offences – while others suggested that the pastor may have been fired over his open support of the Black Lives Matter movement, although these rumors have not been confirmed. 

Lentz caused controversy in September when he publicly declared his support for BLM on the official Hillsong NYC Facebook page, writing in a statement: ‘At THIS church, we are not saying “all lives matter” right now because this is a logical assumption that most reasonable people agree with.

What is Hillsong? 

Hillsong, which describes itself as a ‘contemporary Christian church’, is a global mega-church that was first founded by Pastor Brian Houston and his wife Bobbie in Australia in 1983. It was originally known as the Hills Christian Life Centre. 

The church was originally part of the Australian Christian Churches group, however it left the organization in 2018 in order to become an autonomous denomination. 

At the time, Houston cited a desire to branch out internationally and become more contemporary as being behind the decision. 

The mega-church now boasts locations in 21 countries around the world, including the US, UK, Indonesia, and Israel. It has 28 locations across Australia in places like New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania. 

According to Hillsong’s website, the church boasts an ‘average global attendance’ of 150,000 every week – however this number has likely been altered, and perhaps increased, as a result of the church moving its services online amid the coronavirus pandemic.  

In addition to Hillsong Church, founder Houston has also launched several sister companies, including three record labels, a film and TV network, and an international training college, Hillsong International Leadership College, which is located in Sydney. 

 

‘All lives are not at risk right now. We ARE saying BLACK LIVES MATTER. Because, right now, black lives apparently are worth LESS on our streets. It’s “our fight” not “their fight.”‘

Despite Hillsong founder Houston’s refusal to reveal more details about Lentz’s firing, some Twitter users have pointed the finger at the pastor’s support of BLM, noting that his opinions may well have been at odds with others within the church. 

‘Carl Lentz from Hillsong has been open and transparent about his beliefs and values regarding BLM,’ one person wrote. ‘I’m convinced his termination was due to his conflict with protecting black lives. This is why black people turn away from church (and God).’ 

Another added: ‘Hugely suspicious because Carl Lentz has always very HEAVILY supported the BLM movement, even when I used to see him preach when I was a teen. He’s also always been quite anti-right wing (he’s been vocal in the past about past elections), so curious as to what’s happening here.’ 

Writing in to celebrity gossip Instagram account Deux Moi, one person speculated: ‘Carl was the only one of the 80 Hillsong pastors who was vocal on BLM. He was “soft” on abortion and LGBTQ+. That must be it.’ 

However another follower who claimed to have ‘first hand knowledge’ of Hillsong’s inner workings insisted that Lentz’s sacking ‘had nothing to do’ with his support of BLM, writing: ‘I do know the reason and I can’t say. It is bad but could happen to anyone.’

DailyMail.com has reached out to Hillsong for comment. 

Lentz’s sacking also comes several months after he revealed in March that he had tested positive for COVID-19, having sparked outrage just days earlier by holding a 200-person Hillsong NYC service, despite churches at the time being discouraged to hold large in-person meetings in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. 

It is not known how many attendees may have been infected, nor how many people were tested for the virus after the service – which was also broadcast to church members at home – took place. 

In his official statement, Houston paid tribute to Lentz and his wife, noting that they have ‘served faithfully and sacrificially’. 

Lentz documented the moment Bieber got down on his knees, 'ravaged by loss' and sobbed: 'I want to know Jesus'. Pictured with Lentz's son

Lentz documented the moment Bieber got down on his knees, ‘ravaged by loss’ and sobbed: ‘I want to know Jesus’. Pictured with Lentz’s son

Bieber's wife, Hailey Baldwin, is also a believer, and are frequently spotted in church together

Bieber’s wife, Hailey Baldwin, is also a believer, and are frequently spotted in church together

‘They have a heart for people and we are confident that after a time of rest and restoration, God will use Carl in another way outside of Hillsong church,’ the statement continued. 

‘In terminating his tenure, we in no way want to diminish the good work he did here.

‘It would not be appropriate for us to go into detail about the events that led to this decision. Our focus at this time is to honor God and pastorally care for our East Coast church community as well as the Lentz family.

Houston (pictured) said it 'would not be appropriate' to provide details on the events which led to the church's decision

Houston (pictured) said it ‘would not be appropriate’ to provide details on the events which led to the church’s decision

‘…While I have no doubt that this is the right course of action, I must mention Bobbie’s and my personal sadness, as we have known Laura her entire life and Carl for well over 20 years.’ 

Hillsong, which describes itself as a ‘contemporary Christian church’ was first founded by Houston in Australia in 1983, and it was originally known as the Hills Christian Life Centre.  

The mega-church now boasts locations in 21 countries around the world, including the US, UK, Indonesia, and Israel. It has 28 locations across Australia in places like New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania. 

According to Hillsong’s website, the church boasts an ‘average global attendance’ of 150,000 every week – however this number has likely been altered, and perhaps increased, as a result of the church moving its services online amid the coronavirus pandemic.  

Lentz has not yet publicly addressed his sacking, however he has not uploaded any posts to his Instagram account since September 18. He last promoted his work with Hillsong on social media on September 12, when he shared a video of himself urging people to tune into his virtual church services.

His wife Laura has also not yet commented on Lentz’s termination, however she uploaded a post to her Instagram on October 28, sharing an image of a ‘rhythms for life’ planner and journal, alongside which she commented: ‘2020 has been quite the year…’ 

Statement from Hillsong founder Brian Houston

Today Hillsong Church East Coast advised our congregation that we have terminated the employment of Pastor Carl Lentz. This action was not taken lightly and was done in the best interests of everyone, including Pastor Carl.

We thank Pastors Carl and Laura for the way they have served faithfully and sacrificially since the start of Hillsong NYC and for contributing so significantly to the countless lives that have been transformed for Jesus Christ through this ministry. 

They have a heart for people and we are confident that after a time of rest and restoration, God will use Carl in another way outside of Hillsong church. In terminating his tenure, we in no way want to diminish the good work he did here.

This action has been taken following ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures.

It would not be appropriate for us to go into detail about the events that led to this decision. Our focus at this time is to honor God and pastorally care for our East Coast church community as well as the Lentz family.

While I have no doubt that this is the right course of action, I must mention Bobbie’s and my personal sadness, as we have known Laura her entire life and Carl for well over 20 years.

Hillsong East Coast services and all of our ministries will proceed as usual, and we will continue to be a place of hope, love and faith through the powerful and transforming message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a message our nation and the world need to hear more than ever during a time of such instability and uncertainty.

I appreciate the great team of people who serve here, and as we embark on the process of selecting new leadership, we are praying that God would bring about an exciting new season for our church and this region.

Hillsong Church will not be making further public comments on this matter.




Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button