Hillsong NYC, under the direction of Carl Lentz, chose to forgo a service on Sunday where he preached the word of God from the scriptures to his congregation, but rather invited Bishop T.D Jakes to have a conversation about the pandemic, the killing of George Floyd, racial reconciliation, and the riots happening in the streets.
Lentz explained the motivation for the move, saying “I really felt stirred in my heart today just to really allow the Holy Spirit to lead our church to where I believe the heart of God is right now.”
This is a curious statement, given that he and Bishop Jakes have very different understandings of who or what the Holy Spirit is. (or perhaps they don’t?) The Bishop is a trinity-denying Modalist and therefore doesn’t believe that the Holy Spirit is the second person of the Godhead, but rather simply a “manifestation.” At this point, we are not sure that Lentz does either.
“Trinity-denying” is a hard “P” Primary Doctrine that Christians are to separate over, as it’s denial results in damnation. Hillsong has in their loosey-goosey statement of faith “We believe in one eternal God who is the Creator of all things. He exists in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. He is totally loving and completely holy. For Lentz though, it’s a non-issue.
Lentz continues “And throughout the whole bible, it’s really clear if you want to find God’s presence, you don’t have to go to some fancy rooftop, you don’t have to climb a mountain and do some weird trek. If you want to know where God’s heart is, his heart is with the hurting. Wherever there are hurting people are, that’s where God’s heart is.”
Lentz and a cadre of other similarly minded pastors, such as Steven Furtick and Judah Smith have very close ties with the Modalist. Bishop TD Jakes had invited Lentz and others pastors to his home years ago for several days of personalized and intimate teaching and discipleship, and Lentz routinely promotes the prosperity- preaching Bishop and his church, The Potters House. Later in the “service” Lentz will encourage him to start a” Potters House NYC” church plant.
During the “church service” Lentz introduces his congregants to Jakes with undue flattery “If you’re new to the Christian world, T.D. Jakes kinda revolves around it. Time magazine says he’s the most influential preacher of the century.”
They discuss the recent happenings in the country, with the death of black men at the hands of white police and the theme of racial reconciliation being the lynchpin that the conversation returns to. A typical question by Lentz is something like:
“If you’re a white family watching right now, and you go “you know what? we might have some racism imbedded in us from generations…and they feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and they go n”o more!” What can they do? What are some practical things they can do…?”
To which Jakes goes on to answer, weaving in a smidgeon of scripture with large portions of personal stories and unbiblical assertions, with the virtue of social justice being assumed throughout.
Lentz says he intends to return to a preaching service next week.