Recently we posted an article explaining how we are concerned that Carl Lentz had made misleading statements to Dr. James White about Hillsong’s position on the acceptance of gay people within the Hillsong Community. Our unease stemmed from a recent episode of The Dividing Line in which Dr. White discusses some email interaction he had with Carl Lentz, and his concerns about a recent statement made by Brian Houston about the inclusion of unrepentant homosexuals as congregation members of Hillsong Church.
Source: James White, Seer Stones, Hillsong Church, and KJVOnly Deceitfulness, Alpha & Omega Ministries, http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2015/08/05/seer-stones-hillsong-church-and-kjvonly-deceitfulness/, 26:17-27:50, Published 05/08/2015. (Accessed 10/08/2015.)
In this episode, Dr. White demonstrates that both Brian Houston and Carl Lentz have made contradictory statements about Hillsong’s position (e.g. that gay people are not allowed to be in positions of leadership, yet current news reports show that they are in fact in leadership positions). The transcript of Dr. White’s program is at the end of this piece.
Carl responded to our article with the following comment at ChurchWatch Central:
Hi! I actually don’t have a YouTube channel, so that’s unfortunate here in regards to your attempt to discredit me. Hard for me to upload videos on a site I don’t actually have. Make sure you do just a little bit of homework before you build your attack, might make it a little more believable. James white is a respectable man, who actually called to check facts. What’s funny is he actually talks about people like you the podcast you posted! Hilarious. In your eagneress to tear down, don’t rush the fact checking part. God bless you!
Carl Lentz: guy who has no YouTube channel.
Source: Carl Lentz (guy who says guy who has no YouTube channel), Church Watch Central, http://churchwatchcentral.com/2015/08/10/did-carl-lentz-mislead-james-white-of-alpha-omega-ministries/, Published 11/08/2015. (Accessed 11/08/2015.)
Carl Lentz also sent the following tweet to his followers on Twitter:
I don’t have a personal YouTube channel. If there is one, I have zero control of what’s on there and have never looked. God bless America!!
Source: Carl Lentz https://twitter.com/carllentzNYC/status/630950093252919297, Published 10/07/2015 (Accessed 11/08/2015.)
While we make every attempt to be accurate in our articles, we are more than willing to take on board Dr. White’s exhortation to research carefully and check facts. Therefore we accept Carl Lentz’ assurance that he does not have a YouTube channel. [Doing further homework we found that Carl Lentz responded to another person back in June saying he doesn’t have a YouTube account.]
@arielscomedy I don’t have a YouTube channel, a podcast or anything! But I’m glad you were encouraged by it, God bless!
Source: Carl Lentz, Twitter, https://twitter.com/carllentzNYC/status/614268539596189696, Published 25/06/2015 (Accessed 11/08/2015.)
The YouTube channel in question does bear Carl Lentz’ name, and clearly has fooled a number of people who have left comments and even tweeted to Carl how much they appreciated his sermons. Due to this confusion we would like answers from Carl Lentz to the following questions:
1. Since you claim not to own a youtube channel, why are you discrediting Church Watch rather than going after the person (or persons) posting videos under your name?
2. On 25/06/2015 you posted on Twitter “That’s Funny @arielscomedy I don’t have a YouTube channel, a podcast or anything! But I’m glad you were encouraged by it, God bless!” There is someone posting videos in your name and falsely representing you. It is currently the month of August. Why have you not fixed this problem yet?
3. It’s not uncommon for a pastor to give the job of creating a youtube channel and uploading the Pastor’s sermons to someone else. Our homework has always taught us to parse your words. Is it not reasonable to conclude that although you do not have a personal youtube account, someone else you know runs it?
4. Our most important question to you is this: When will you speak or write about your Biblical stance on homosexuality in a clear, unambiguous way that is backed up by Scripture thus proving you believe it by not having unrepentant homosexuals in positions of leadership or in any position within any and all Hillsong churches?
5. We would encourage you to start doing your own homework. Have you investigated what has emerged in the Royal Commission involving Brian Houston and his father’s crimes? Click here for homework.
We apologize for any error made in regards to this matter.
However, what is gravely concerning is that Carl Lentz chose to focus on this error rather than address his own grievous sin in allowing unrepentant homosexuals membership and leadership positions at Hillsong NYC. We are also amazed that he would raise such a minor error, rather than address what came to light in Dr White’s program. That is the blatantly contradictory and deceptive statements currently being made by both Carl and Brian Houston in relation to the context in which unrepentant homosexuals are allowed to participate in the Hillsong Church community, worship and leadership. Hillsong claims to be part of the body of Christ, and claims to hold to the biblical position on marriage and homosexuality. But their practices clearly show that this is not at all true.
This is the real issue: If Hillsong pastors such as Carl and Brian allow homosexual people to be church members, without calling them to repentance, then they are leading people to hell for eternity.
It is grievous to us here at Church Watch Central, and to the body of Christ at large, that Carl and Brian would allow people to remain dead in their trespasses and sins, believing themselves to be reconciled to God when they are not. That is why we are raising these issues and exposing the deception that continues to abound in the Hillsong empire. We care deeply about the souls of these people who are being deceived by Hillsong and its “pastors”.
If at times we err in our zeal to warn others, then we are truly sorry and take to heart Dr. White’s rebuke. But sadly, Carl Lentz has chosen to ignore these issues and instead has just created a distraction from matters far more egregious and soul destroying than whether he does or doesn’t have a YouTube Channel.
Because we cite all of our sources we fail to fall into Dr. James White’s category. However, we would encourage you to start doing your own homework.
We look forward to Carl Lentz’ response.
Dr James White: “Popped in the channel and there was a discussion about what was going on in Twitter. And what was going on in Twitter was a discussion of Carl Lentz and the Hillsong Church in New York. And of course there’s the stuff of Brian Houston, who is the big Hillsong leader out of Australia. And basically the two sides were talking past each other unfortunately.
Um, what I was concerned about the whole thing was the accuracy of the articles that have been distributed. I started seeing them a few days ago and they came up every once in a while but there was a new spate of them in regards to Carl Lentz and comments about homosexuality.
Now I’m a Reformed Baptist. My ecclesiology is significantly more developed shall we say, and traditional, and historical than Hillsong ecclesiologies, as we are going to see here in a moment.
I am obviously not a fan of ‘seeker sensitivity’ or anything like that at all. The church is the Body of Christ, it is where God is worshiped in Holiness. There is to be church discipline. There is to be a call for Holy living. The church is not to look like the world, act like the world. The world should be very uncomfortable as Paul said, an unbeliever comes in should be convicted by whats going on.
So what really bugged me about the Twitter debate that was going on, was one side was saying, ‘look you need to check the sources. You need to be accurate in the facts that your using. You may be right in your conclusions, you may say you know these folks, they’ve got some serious problems here and we need to be careful about what’s going on here and this seems to be symptomatic of that. That’s one thing, but you have to do so accurately, you’ve got to make sure of your facts, you can’t be making, ‘well it looks like I think they went to a Conference one, this person was there and therefore…’ And-‘ you’ve got all these connections being made.
No one should be surprised that I’ve got a problem with inaccuracy and use of information because, am I not the guy who sits here for half an hour talking about being careful in talking about Muhammad and Niesha, or the history of the Koran or etc, etc, etc?
Yeh. That’s- that’s me. The same guy.
So I would think you would need to be just as careful in talking about these issues – (And what had happened was, I almost talked about this on Monday but we did we did the Radio Fee Geneva, so I couldn’t fit it in) – but I had seen a quote attributed to Carl Lentz, in one of the articles going around saying, ‘ah see Hillsong’s collapsing on homosexuality and here’s how it’s happening’ and so on and so forth and when I read it, it was the standard ‘Jesus never said anything about homosexuality stuff.’ And I’m like, I have decimated that argument so many times on this program and I’ve told people, I’ve said to people that if you hear anybody saying, ‘Jesus never addressed homosexuality’, that person is either deceptive or ignorant or both, but it can’t be neither.
And. So. I don’t always do this, I don’t have a big black book of contacts and email. But some of you will remember that September of last year I think, almost a year ago, Carl Lentz contacted us. I made some comments about something I had seen, it was actually a video as I recall at that point. I played the video and I said, ‘I’ve got a problem with this and here’s why.’ Well somebody sent it to Carl Lentz and he wrote through the contact page.
And so I had an email. We had actually exchanged some emails back and forth. And so I, you know, did the standard search thing and pulled up an email and I said, ‘Yeah! I’m going to ask him,’ because there was no attribution in the article.
He didn’t say where it was from.
It had a ‘he said’ at the end.
Well okay, I don’t trust it. Especially the sources, you know if it’s like Huff Post, CNN and whatever else, ‘he said’ means nothing. They may have strung those words together from three hours worth of conversation, but anyway.
Other host: “That Contact by the way, came through on October 28 2014”.
Dr James White: “Okay. October, so last year.
And so I wrote. And I said- I gave the quote and said, ‘Is this accurate?’
And he wrote back fairly quickly and said, ‘Who is this?’
And I wrote back and said, ‘Well you contacted us last year. Alpha Omega Ministries. We saw this quotation. It’s unattributed. Before I comment on it, I would like to know if you actually said this’.
And he was very appreciative of that and said, ‘I’m taking my girls to their dance lessons [or whatever it was], I’ll get back to you,’ and said, ‘I’ll get back to you faster than that’. And so he did. And we’ve gone back and forth.
And in fact I have here- this is from yesterday- you know- I- we went back and forth and I said, ‘Can I quote you as saying- ‘quote’ (and this is a quote from him):
‘What Jesus often did explicitly outline as you well know, is marriage between a man and a woman. I made that point clearly in an interview and that was edited out. Our church has never wavered, ever on our clear stance on what is Biblical marriage or Biblical sexuality for that matter.’
Alright? Now we’ve continued [inaudible] going back and forth cause I found some more quotes.
And he said, ‘Look I would not say it the way that I said it. You know this was CNN.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah! I know CNN now! Been there done that! Got the t-shirt. And man, you’ve got a- you’ve got to go straight for the heart, if your on CNN. You can not try to make yourself look nice to these folks, it’s not possible. You’ve got to go straight to it and press it.
And- so we’ve gone back and forth.
I basically said, ‘look Jesus did address this issue when He used the term porneia. There is no-one that I have ever found anywhere- I don’t care if it’s Boswell, [inaudible names], it doesn’t matter who it is, Vines, I’ve never found anyone who’s even started to make a meaningful argument- that in the context of second temple Judaism, in the context of the Gospel writers, that porneia would not have included homosexuality. I’ve never seen anyone even try to argue it because anybody who knows anything about that time period, knows that porneia when it was written by Paul, when it was written by Matthew, was written by Mark, included homosexuality. There’s no question about it! None!
So when someone says, ‘Jesus never addressed this issue’, they’re just ignorant, they just don’t know what they’re talking about.
And Carl says, ‘I know that. I agree. It was a combination of my not speaking clearly enough and them not following up with what I said afterwards where I said those things.’
So, you know. Okay I hear you. Got it. Alright.
I tried to be- if I’m going to criticise, I want to try to be fair, and I want to try to be accurate. And the fact is, there are sources amongst conservative Christians that are trusted that shouldn’t be. We re-post stuff that isn’t always overally accurate.
And my concern was exactly that. My concern was exactly that. Because, these are important issues. And when we are not- when we don’t do our homework and we just go with the twelve-gate shotgun blast from the start, we may think we are doing the Elijah thing. But in reality we are only hurting ourselves. Because then people can just focus on that and not focus upon what the real issue is.”
Now I’m not saying that even when you focus upon the real issue that people are necessary, sadly going to listen to what you have to say but it’s worth the shot.
[Quoting Brian Houston’s statement] ‘Because I also live by my own convictions, hold to traditional Christian thought on lifestyles and gay marriage…’. Now could I just say, if we, if we have a passionate love for God’s truth, if we really believe that it is divine truth, (that God has made us in a certain way, that we have the owner’s manual, that the Creator has specific purposes and therefore our lives would be experienced, there’s basics here, you know if you don’t get the basic’s right there’s not going to be anything up the road), if we really believe that, it’s going to influence how we speak.
And it seems to me, that we need to really be putting some thought into how we can speak with more clarity about these subjects. It sounds like, well yeh I’ve got my convictions, I do the traditional Christian you know. It’s like we’ve already been beaten into the ‘I’m sorry don’t through things at me’, rather than ‘I believe in actual marriage and I believe that this is divine truth and this is vitally important and this is exciting and it’s worth living for’. There’s a big difference between those two, big difference. But anyways.
‘…The writings of the apostle Paul in scripture on the subject of homosexuality are also clear…’ Good to hear! Lot’s of folks are telling us the opposite of that. Just the opposite of that.
‘…as I have mentioned in previous public statements. Hillsong Church welcomes ALL people but does not affirm all lifestyles. Put clearly, we do not affirm a gay lifestyle and because of this we do not knowingly have actively gay people-‘ (now here’s where I’m confused), ‘we do not knowingly have actively gay people in positions of leadership, either paid or unpaid.’
Foul, blow the whistle, what?!
See here’s where ecclesiology comes into view. Here’s where your doctrines of church comes into view.
Because later on, here’s what it says later on, ‘… so if your a gay are you welcome at Hillsong Church? Of course! You are welcome to attend, worship with us, and participate as a congregation member with the assurance that you are personally included and accepted within our community. But (this is where it gets vexing), can you take an active leadership role? No. This won’t make everyone happy and to some, this stance may even be seen as hypocritical. We are a gay welcoming church but we are not a church that affirms a gay lifestyle…’
Excuse me! Time out! The poor little Reformed Baptist is confused. [laughs]
Yeh, um, so do you have a church membership role? Do you have a Statement of faith? How can you be a member of the congregation, a part of the community, while living a lifestyle that the church says is sinful and just won’t allow into leadership, but will allow in the church? Is that what I’m reading?
If it is, here’s where ecclesiology comes into it, because you see, there are some people who view church incrementally. You bring people in. We’re inclusive. Open. We’re loving. You bring people in. And then over time you sort of hope that they are going to start seeing that selling those drugs is a bad thing, the gang-banging is a bad thing. You might loose a few members in the process. You know before they really get that idea, but hey you know. It’s this inclusive, incremental thing slowly get them, you know.
The church is called holy!
It’s made up of Saints!
I mean again, 1 Corinthians verse 5: “you have a man who’s had his own father’s wife.” It’s incest. You should have known better. It’s right there in Leviticus 18. CAST HIM OUT! Right?
So do you bring people into the congregation in incestuous relationships? Hey your part of the community, have some Lord’s supper, hey you know. But you can’t be in leadership until you stop that incestuous stuff. What??
Ok maybe this is just a really, really badly written thing and I’m completely missing. But it seems to me that um we have a really fundamental problem here in um- ‘worship with us.’
Well I thought we were to worship in holiness and that there was to be repentance. Doesn’t the church gather, repentance, proclamation of God’d truth, brings repentance and holiness so that we can worship in spirit and in truth? Do we want people who are unrepentant? Isn’t the constant prayer, ‘may your words shine into our hearts to show us what we need to repent of?’
So if you don’t tell people what you stand for then how can there be any meaningful unity in worship? I’m completely lost at this point. I really am. I don’t get it.
So, ‘worship with us and participate as a congregation member’, what does that mean? Sing? partake of the Lord’s supper? Are unrepentant, practicing homosexuals allowed to partake of the Lord’s supper in Hillsong Church? Baahhh but you can’t be a leader! So what? Who cares?
I think leadership is drawn out of the congregation anyways. I mean if you start making up rules like this to where- have we not seen this in so many of the mainline denominations?You know whats the big thing-? You know, all these half way measures where, ‘Well, you know as long as your a celibate homosexual, then you can be a Bishop.’ And how long did that last? You know before, ‘well we can’t do that, they have to be able to express their love and blah blah blah blah’.
You’re creating a Clergy Laity distinction that New Testament knows nothing about here in [glitch] moral standard here.
No, the standard for membership in the church is called regeneration, ah isn’t it? Repentance, baptism you know that stuff. So are these folks baptized? Will you baptize unrepentant practicing homosexuals? How else do you become a member of the church? Or is there no membership role at all? I mean that wouldn’t surprise me because that’s the Calvary Chapel model. The Calvary Chapel model’s no membership, that’s why you have no church discipline. I’m not sure how your suppose to shepherd the sheep that you don’t know who are in your flock, but there you go. Umm… wow.
This is what happens when you don’t have a Statement of faith, when you don’t have a sound ecclesiology. It’s um- it’s a mess.
So I don’t get it. I don’t get how you can say on the one side one thing and then on the other side you turn around and your saying, ‘Hey! You know, you’re welcome to come to Hillsong church, participate as a congregation member with the assurance that you are personally included and accepted within our community, only thing you can’t do is be a leader.’
Would that count for shacking up with your girlfriend or girlfriends, boyfriends, girlfriends whatever? So the only difference between the people of the church and leaders is that leaders actually have to be repentant, people of the church don’t? I don’t get it, I don’t get it, but there you go. There you go. Great confusion. […]
Host voice: ‘The next step in being a member as I understand it is, you have a say in calling of leadership’.
Dr James White: ‘Maybe’.
Other host: ‘Would they be allowed to vote for leadership and calling of a Pastor’?
Dr James White: ‘I don’t know. I do not know, I do not know. But there you go’.
So what I’m calling for. Katie Hall said to me, ‘I don’t understand why all these reformed people are defending Hillsong.’ Katie, it’s not a matter of defending Hillsong. It’s a matter of saying you need to be accurate in your criticisms for them to be lasting and meaningful criticism, that’s the point.
We can see the problem but isn’t it interesting that on both this and the prior situation, who got to actual heart of the matter by being careful about the criticism [raises hands]. That’s my point. That’s my point. Got to be careful. You’ve got to do your homework. That’s my point.’