Questions about the Hillsong have swirled since news about one leader’s infidelity led to his dismissal. The problems seem to run far deeper than that.
It’s never good to learn that a religious leader has been thinking with the wrong head, shaming himself and the faith he claims to represent. But human failings are not a new thing.
The sons of the high priest who raised the Prophet Samuel were notorious womanizers (and took the blunt end of the pool cue of divine judgment for it), and we were warned on the pages of scripture itself that not all of the leaders that would step up would be worthy of the title. Warnings about false teachers are sprinkled throughout the Old and New Testaments, and strict moral criteria were set up as a measurement for who would and wouldn’t qualify for leadership.
When it’s a particular person going wrong there is at least some upside. The failure of a single individual who put temptation ahead of integrity at the moment when it mattered most… whether it happened on a single occasion, or as a habit, the damage is limited to the decisions of a single person.
Hillsong — if these reports are true — is a different scenario.
Rather than a place where people would come to turn from their sins and embrace a better life, it was a place where subordinates were drawn into joining in the depravity of their leaders and employers.
Staff at the celebrity mega-church Hillsong used the organization as a dating service, had inappropriate relations with volunteers and asked them to send nude photos of themselves, whistleblowers have claimed.
The volunteers said the church, which has recently been rocked by the revelations that former leader Carl Lentz cheated on his wife of 17 years, was a ‘breeding ground for unchecked abuse’.
The scale led a group of high-level volunteers to send a letter to leaders in 2018, warning of the stories circulating about ‘inappropriate’ sexual behavior, according to Page Six.
…Lentz’s firing became public when Houston wrote to members acknowledging ‘a recent revelation of moral failures’ by the pastor, and claimed he fired Lentz as soon as he found out about his infidelity.
But sources revealed senior church members were warned of Lentz’s ‘inappropriate sexual behavior’ over three years ago.
According to one insider, in July 2017 a Hillsong member wrote to one of the church’s directors on email with allegations that some Hillsong leaders were texting nude photos to female volunteers, and that Lentz had been accused of making one volunteer ‘extremely uncomfortable’ after he ‘acted inappropriately’, was ‘extremely flirtatious’, and ‘has been involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with different women’.
According to the source, the sender, a former Hillsong New York community group leader, sent the email to an executive of the church’s Boston campus.
His email said a former Hillsong volunteer had come forward to him claiming Lentz ‘acted inappropriately’ with her, was ‘extremely flirtatious’ and made her feel ‘extremely uncomfortable.’
The church group leader said in the email that the whistleblower had spoken in confidence to him, alleging that Lentz had also been involved in ‘inappropriate sexual behavior’ with other women in the megachurch’s backstage area called the Green Room. —DailyMail
The allegations were dismissed as unfounded.
Here’s an uncomfortable flashback. When the Harvey Weinstein story broke, the guy who was just fired for cheating on his wife had some thoughts on sexual morality.
Lentz said the recent Harvey Weinstein sex scandal exposes a deep double standard plaguing the culture.
“It’s interesting how on one hand we honor Hugh Hefner when he passes away. That dude was a pornographer. But, yet, Harvey Weinstein is this demon in culture right now,” he said. “We have very very murky water right now with morality.”
Lentz believes society’s distorted view of sex comes from pornography.
“Pornography is destructive to everyone that’s involved with it…from what I’ve seen and from what I know, it’s not helping anybody,” he explained. “It definitely devalues what is right and what is holy.”
Additionally, he says porn desensitizes the culture.
“You can get to a place in culture where you think some things are right, that you start to lose your sensitivity,” he said. “If something happens enough it becomes normal – like racism, like inequality, like things that should bother us. After a while porn breaks down your defense systems.”
Despite his criticisms of Weinstein and the pervasiveness of porn in the culture, he says the answer is always Jesus.
“Harvey Weinstein, he needs Jesus like I need Jesus,” Lentz said. “It doesn’t mean that we absolve or endorse or advocate or excuse his behavior. It just means our answer is the same. No matter what your problem is, no matter what your sin is, no matter how big or small we might make it, I feel like we know what the answer is.” — CBN
As ironic as that assessment might be in light of recent events… he’s actually not wrong about the remedy, or the applicability of the solution.
Thinking of God as a cosmic killjoy itching to crack someone over the head for stepping out of line misses the point.
The Son Of Man endured a cross to bring us back to Himself. He understands our frailty and sin better than we do ourselves. But the only way out of that dead-end is repentance.
And the only way to repent is to turn to Christ.
He took on the Devil on an empty stomach on the road to bearing the sin of the whole world on his shoulders.
Church leaders were never meant to see the women in their care as prey upon whom to feast but as another generation of kick-ass leaders to step up into their calling and leave a jagged scar in Satan’s haggard backside.
Like these chicas did.
In Doug Giles’ latest book, Biblical Badasses: The Women, Giles spotlights ten epic ladies who did awesome things for God with the odds severely stacked against them. These girls weren’t your typical church ladies. They were holy movers and shakers who upset hell with their God-honoring, faith-filled, lives. Giles’ unique take on these terrific women makes the scripture come alive. This book is real, raw, relevant, and irreverent. Giles’ prayer is that after reading, Biblical Badasses: The Women, not only will your noggin be filled with these amazing tales of high and lows from real women who rocked in a hard place, via the power of God, but that you will get off your butt, quit pursuing stupidity, start chasing down your high calling and at the end of your life, you too, like the holy femme fatales featured herein, will have left a massive scar on Satan’s haggard backside.
Get your copy of Biblical Badasses: The Women today!