While on my vacation, a bit of a brouhaha erupted over the accuracy of reports that a homosexual couple had been serving in the music ministry at Hillsong NYC. The first report I saw was from a Pulpit Bunker dweller, whose blog reported on the issue here.
The issue seemed clear-cut. Here are the facts:
- A celebrity homosexual couple (known as the “Broadway Boyfriends” from their stint on the reality show, Survivor) told the press back in January that they had “come out” to Hillsong leadership and that “nothing had changed” since in their relationship to the church since then (link).
- The full quotation: “I need to be truthful with everyone. I became truthful with my church. I’m a part of Hillsong NYC. I’m one of their choir directors. I also sing on their Worship team. They’ve been amazing as well. Nothing has changed there now that I’m completely out and with Reed. He sings in the choir as well. I found that being an honest person has actually come with a lot of benefits. People are more sincere with you, and you find out a lot more about other people when you become honest” – emphasis mine (link).
- The various discernment blogs, like Stand Up for the Truth, posted a quotation from Carl Lentz to help the reader understand how it could be that a celebrity homosexual couple claims to have “come out” to Hillsong leadership without anything changing. The quotation was, “Jesus was in the thick of an era where homosexuality, just like it is today, was widely prevalent. And I’m still waiting for someone to show me the quote where Jesus addressed it on the record in front of people. You won’t find it because he never did. We have a lot of gay men and women in our church and I pray we always do.“
I watched the information provided hit social media, and didn’t say anything because – if you know Hillsong “Church” – it’s not surprising. I believe I RT’d a link by P&P friend, Jeff Maples, which solicited defenses of Lentz and comments from others who were not defending Lentz, but were maligning the discernment blogs as somehow inaccurate or “old news.”
It’s here that the “controversy” happened. Some began to claim they had spoken with Lentz and that “Lentz has dealt with this.” Others claimed that Lentz is opposed to homosexuality, and told them so privately.
Immediately, a few discernment-related questions go through my head:
- Was it completely lost on Hillsong leadership that a gay couple was serving in their ministry?
- Was it completely lost on Hillsong leadership that a celebrity gay couple was serving in their ministry? They didn’t know the famous “Broadway Boyfriends” were in their choir?
- Did Lentz “deal with this” the same way he’s dealt with the very public sin of other very famous church “members,” like Justin Beiber?
- If Lentz “dealt with this” how is it that the homosexual couple thinks that “nothing has changed” since coming out of the closet?
- If Lentz “dealt with this” then why is the homosexual couple speaking of serving the church in the present and not past tense.
- On what grounds did Lentz deal with this, considering there’s no public record of his or the church’s stance on this sin?
Interestingly, some ordinarily-discerning people also claimed that Lentz has confirmed with them personally (whether by phone call, text, direct-message, email, etc…) that homosexuality is a sin. Therefore, the presumption was (and I feel rather unjustly) that the discernment blog posts were somehow untrustworthy. I hope to set that record straight and clarify that a personal communication with a Word-Faith or Prosperity Gospel “pastor” should not be taken into greater consideration than the full body of their public words and works.
Here are three videos from Carl Lentz on the topic of homosexuality.
Yeah. So…Nothing seems out of context, here.
Hmmmm….seems like those reports from the nefarious discernment blogs were spot on.
So how are those discernment blogs wrong again? Oh, because Lentz gave somebody word via DM or FB or text that he thinks homosexuality is a sin and he’s dealt with this issue? Pardon the incredulity.
I don’t buy it. Nobody should buy it.
In fact, to claim that Lentz told you privately what he has publicly contradicted – repeatedly – might be at the very heart of naivety. Dr. Michael Brown, who I admire by the way (except for what seems his repeated lack of discernment in the area of charismania), reduced this to being a mere “internet rumor” in Charisma Mag. While admonishing Hillsong chief guru Brian Houston for his lack of clarity, Brown was content chopping up the controversy to “lies.” Again, the evidence is that there are certainly lies involved – but it doesn’t seem to be the lies of the discernment bloggers.
Finally, this is more than an ecclesiastical issue (although it certainly is an ecclesiastical issue). While it’s true that Lentz speaks in terms of gay people “in his church” and this implies those who partake in worship “experiences” and not the same type of covenant-style church membership prevalent in biblical churches, the above video clips demonstrate issues at the heart of redemption, sanctification, and no doubt, actual salvation.
All of this – and I do mean all of this – should go without saying. For some reason, discernment ministry seems to be the whipping boy lately. Pulpit & Pen didn’t even write on this topic, and a mere RT got us thrown under the bus by folks taking Lentz’ private convos with them over his public comments to the press. I commend Stand Up for the Truth and other blogs for reporting the facts on this Downgrade issue. Good for them. And good for them, having to put up with accusations of impropriety by the poorly discerning.