I want to preface this by saying this is not a gossip blog, nor do I care about scandals of any sort especially the scandals of Caucasians; mess is just not my cup of tea. However, I do love when tea and Jesus intersect, because it’s an opportunity to view matters at varying perspectives.
Recently, Pastor Carl Lentz of Hillsong Church was fired from the church due to his admittance to having an affair with actress and model, Ranin Karim.
Short background about Pastor Carl Lentz:
- He’s been married to his wife, Laura, for 17 years and they have 3 children together
- He co-founded Hillsong Church (NYC) in 2010 and has been one of the lead pastors there since
Last week, both Lentz and his wife were fired by from Hillsong due to his cheating scandal. Global pastoral leader Brian Houston of Hillsong cited the official offense which led to Lentz’s firing as “leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures.” How ever the church specifically defines “leadership issues and breaches of trust,” is one thing, but “a recent revelation of moral failures” is honestly bit much.
Don’t get me wrong, cheating is DEAD WRONG. I am in no way excusing this man for what he did. Cheating is wrong (“But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself.”
Proverbs 6:32). Marriage is an act of and from God…it is the unification between 2-into-1 under God – something that should be upheld with the upmost respect. It can be acknowledged that mans fucked up badly. I think we can all agree on this, but if God does not condemn nor give up on us when we make mistakes, why should anyone else? In short, who tf do they think they are?
The church is to be an example of Christ, which is blameless and perfect because Jesus lived a sinless life, but this isn’t exactly practical. While Jesus lived a blameless life and showed us how He did so, as we are to emulate Him, He also understood that living a blameless life is not easy, especially in the world we live in. Independent of the chaos of life during the time of Christ and the world we live in today, the bottom line is – is that sin and destruction has always been present. This is why forgiveness and grace is so important. This is why God is so gracious toward us in general because there is an understanding that this life shit is hard and because none of us are perfect, there is grace given to us. If the word declares we are born sinners, (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23), how dare anyone condemn anyone else for a mistake that was made?
Often, my issue with the church is that these pastors and religious leaders become too focused on the look of things – LOOKING perfect and LOOKING blameless that they begin to represent the Kingdom of God and the journey to the Kingdom through only one lens. When the church becomes more focused on their image as opposed to the heart of God and how He treats us when we make mistakes, is when they lose me. There is a disconnect here. Hillsong could have made this an opportunity to show others how the grace of God actually works; how when we make mistakes, we have to repent, talk to the Lord, pray, and truly atone for mistakes made, not be outcasted for our wrongdoings. God does not outcast us. He does not allow us to feel shame, and this is what Hillsong did to that man. This could have been an opportunity to show people WHO God is in a different lens (“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you.” Luke 6:37).
He is good to us at all times, not only when we are doing well. Not only when we’re reading our word and praying and going to church. He is also good to us when we make mistakes. When we sin. When we are imperfect. HE IS ALWAYS GOOD. He always loves us.
Now please don’t get me wrong, I can understand how someone, especially members of Hillsong, can look at Pastor Lentz and feel like “it’s all a lie.”
He’s preaching to them about living uprightly and in the image of God yet doing this foolishness, this is very fair and I don’t fault anyone for feeling this way, but who Christ truly is, is not a judgmental oppressor who shames us whenever we do something outside of His image. He grants us grace, and in order for us, the body of Christ, to remain upright, we have to show people all sides of what a walk with Christ is like. It can be an upward and downward slope. Why?
Because we are human.
Because we are flawed.
Because we make mistakes and make them often.
God nearly guarantees that He knows we will make mistakes, whether we are in or out of the wilderness. What truly matters is how we atone for these mistakes; how we will choose to be better from these mistakes, and how we will allow Him to help us through them.
As a church, being the reflection of Christ and His way of living is important and that is the basis, to bring people into the Kingdom and to allow them to find themselves within the Kingdom, but it’s also about the practical nature of a walk with Christ. It is not easy. And while some mistakes may appear to be greater than others in the natural world (like cheating, cuz cheating on your spouse is wild af and he truly deserves to be smacked, respectfully), sin is sin, and sin can be atoned for through repentance and the will to change.
In short, give that man and anyone else in this life the same grace God gives you.
and stop putting these leaders on a pedestal. yes, with great power comes great responsibility, but ultimately, they’re human just like me and you.
That’s it and that’s all.