For years now, 41-year-old Carl Lentz has been the quintessential “hipster pastor,” routinely wearing leather jackets and skinny jeans on stage while ministering to pop stars like Justin Bieber. He was employed by Hillsong NYC, a megachurch where services resemble rock concerts with a splash of Jesus. Lentz himself was the subject of a GQ profile in 2015. (The church is also anti-gay, in the sense that they say they love gay people, but they won’t tolerate gay people associated with their church being in same-sex relationships.)
I say all this because, last night, the head of Hillsong, Brian Houston, sent out a message saying Lentz had been fired.
Carl Lentz has been fired by Hillsong for “a recent revelation of moral failures” writes Brian Houston in an email to church members. pic.twitter.com/Q653Qd4YvB
— Andrew Beck (@AndrewBeckNYC) November 4, 2020
This action has been taken following ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures.
That’s… vague. It could mean anything. Was he having an affair? Did he do something gay? Did he vote for a Democrat? Did he abuse someone? How serious of a sin was this? Letting people’s imaginations run wild is counterproductive.
That message from Houston also sends the implicit message that a church leader can’t be trusted to uphold the church’s values, nor can the church members be trusted to understand what rule(s) he broke.
Without more information, it’s also a devastating blow to a younger generation of evangelical Christians who identified with Lentz. For all the hipster pastors have done in bringing teenagers into the fold, it turns out the scandals that rocked older Christian leaders haven’t gone away. The moral hypocrisy of Christians lives on because it never went away.
(Screenshot via YouTube)