While sharing the gospel a while ago, we had a disgruntled unbeliever say to us, “Christianity is all about getting God’s blessing by butt-kissing.” When we look at the recent behavior of Michael Brown defending Carl Lentz’ appalling behavior on ‘The View’, you can understand why some non-Christians may say this.
Michael Brown released a ‘damage-control’ video on two occasions insisting that he did not defend Pastor Carl Lentz. He claimed he merely ‘reported’ what Carl Lentz said on Oprah and read out Lentz’ media statement. If reporting means ‘butt-kissing’ (or ‘brown-nosing’), he’d be right. However, in this article we will be going back to 2016, looking at an article Michael Brown wrote to Christian ‘media’ reporting on Carl Lentz’ views on the doctrine of the exclusivity of Christ. This was when Lentz was on Oprah. One thing you will notice with Michael Brown’s article about this time last year is how similar last year’s controversy is to this year’s controversy.
CARL LENTZ – PROGRESSING FROM BAD TO WORSE?
When we look at the behavior of Dr Michael Brown defending Hillsong’s Carl Lentz, it’s essentially déjà vu.
Last year, Carl Lentz was talking with Oprah Winfrey trying to win the world with his spiritual ‘insights’.
Since leaving Wave Church at Virginia Beach to being chosen by Hillsong to be their Hillsong NYC ‘pastor’ (through their Hillsong Bible College) Carl Lentz has only progressed from bad to worse and his success is clearly not because of his relationship with God but his relationship with the world.
There’s no doubt he’s a smart man – that’s how he made it to where he is today. He will say anything to get where he wants to be – and unfortunately Michael Brown has become his ‘enabler’. For Michael Brown to say Carl Lentz is called by God to be in a position to share Christ is proof of his own lack of spiritual discernment. Most Christian could do a more reasonable job sharing the Christian faith than any Hillsong leader. The proof is in the fact Christian women openly declared a decade ago on public television in front of Oprah – that Christ is is the only way, the truth and life for man to be saved. They were correcting her. Oprah was not interested.
But it was only last year that Oprah invited someone who she assumed was going to espouse a belief system that would appeal to her and her audiences world view: Carl Lentz. With this background in mind, let’s analyze how Michael Brown defended Lentz.
ANALYZING BROWN AND LENTZ:
“According to Carl Lentz […] people are lost without Jesus and salvation is only found in Him.”
This is Michael Brown failing a Discernment 101 class. Any false teacher can say this. This does not make them someone you can trust. So already we can see where the trajectory is going with this article.
“Pastor Lentz shared this with me when we talked by phone […] in response to my October 27 article […] He was clear, unambiguous, and unashamed: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).”
Now doesn’t that sound similar to what has just happened again with Carl Lentz appearing on ‘The View’? Last year, Oprah asked Carl Lentz the following, “Do you believe that only Christians can be in a relationship with God?”
Any believer would say ‘Yes.’ But not a Hillsong College graduate, chosen by Hillsong leadership to lead Hillsong’s biggest and most influential ‘church’ in America? His response?
While most believers could probably call on a scripture to explain why only Christians can be in a relationship with God, Lentz only went on to talk about his own beliefs about God. But according to Dr Brown, when Carl Lentz was talking to him, Lentz “was clear, unambiguous, and unashamed.” So what was Carl Lent’z response when Brown supposedly asked him, “Do you believe that only Christians can be in a relationship with God?”
Why is it everyone else’s fault to assume the worst of Carl since he could not answer such a primary school level question correctly? People have the right to wonder why Carl Lentz is even in ministry given what he says.
“Pastor Lentz, […] I’m asking you publicly if you would please clarify your recent comments made to Oprah Winfrey.”
How clear were Lentz’ reponses? Let’s look at the question and answer again:
Oprah: “Do you believe that only Christians can be in a relationship with God?”
What needs clarifying? This is the notorious ‘come as you are’ gospel placated in Hillsong advertising and ‘preached’ behind Hillsong podiums every week. This is not a call for clarity. This is Michael Brown doing damage control for Carl Lentz, defending him from Christians who have an issue with Lentz’ ineptitude in providing even a basic response to Oprah.
“[Insert Michael Brown’s interaction and relationship status with Pastor of Cool]”
Christians should be troubled at how often Michael Brown emphasizes his relationships with his fraudulent friends at the expense of Jesus Christ, His Word and the historic Christian confession of faith. The driving authority in much of Brown’s ministry is not God and His Word but men and his relationship with them.
As Brown was with the Oprah-fried Lentz, so was he with the abortion-question Lentz. Nothing has changed. These are the tactics he uses to elevate these false teachers above the Word of God. This, as is evident on his Line of Fire program, is because it’s all about furthering his own reputation and influence so he can make merchandise of people with his books?
“Is Carl Lentz a heretic who believes there are many ways to God, as one of my Twitter followers recently alleged?”
Wrong question. How about this question: Would a heretic (who is exposed for confessing his belief that there are many ways to God) take the opportunity to lie to Brown to save his image? The apparent ‘naivete’ of Brown is staggering. As Christ is the sheep-gate, so one could ask, is Brown the goat-gate? If you as a heretic expose yourself on television denouncing the Christian faith, go to Brown – who will open the goat-gate so he can protect you, your image and your goat buddies.
“Pastor Lentz told me with passion […] He said that he believes in John 14:6 with every fiber of his being, with his entire life […] he was quite humble about these things…”
So Lentz spoke to Michael Brown “with passion”, that he believes John 14:6 “with every fiber of his being” and “he was quite humble about these things”? Any fraud can act sincere, using these tactics to manipulate people in order to hide their agendas.
So notice the tactic of Michael Brown – these signs are enough that Lentz is genuine. Any Christian leader can do a better job discussing these issues with Lentz. However, Lentz is only interested in befriending people who only further his image. And we speak with experience hear as we’ve been in dialogue with him on more than one occasion. So Michael Brown and Lentz will always be a good heretical combination.
The person who Michael Brown is defending is what the Apostle James calls two-faced. Brown inadvertantly articulates Carl Lentz’ being “a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8):
“[Lentz] said that he believes in John 14:6 with every fiber of his being, with his entire life, and so he doesn’t know why he didn’t quote the rest of the verse.”
God makes it clear in James 1:8 that the reason why Lentz didn’t stand up for the faith is because he is double-minded. Yet who’s worse? Brown or Lentz?
“When I asked him the question, “Are people lost without Jesus?” he said, “Without a doubt! He’s the only hope of salvation. One hundred percent.” And, he added, “Without Jesus, you can have everything but have nothing. That’s why I’ve given my life for Jesus and for souls.”
Can you be anymore plain than that?”
What is plain is that Dr Brown defended a deceitful double-minded man that has gained the whole world and lost his soul. The proof is in his language and how he lies to say two different things to keep gaining the world.
“And while Pastor Lentz made clear to me that he was glad to answer my questions (because he recognized me as a brother with a redemptive heart) and that he had no desire to please his critics, I would say to his critics: You have no business accusing him of universalism in any shape, size, or form. He could not have been more clear.”
So note – by default, Lentz sees Michael Brown as someone who has his best interests at heart. And yet here we are in 2017 with Lentz unable to articulate a biblical position about abortion then allowing Michael Brown to say he never meant that either.
See the pattern? Carl Lentz has been deliberately unclear since stepping into ministry and being questioned by the media about worldly ideas. And when Christians call him into line by correcting him with the Word of God – who is regarded as the enemy? Not Carl Lentz. His Christian critics! Michael Brown is making it clear – he is standing with those who love the world but who hate Christ, His Word and His church.
So why do Christians tolerate these wicked and lawless men when the bible tells us to reject them and purge them from our midst?
Both the ChristianPost and Charisma News published the following bogus piece of Michael Brown,
Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz Clarifies His Comments to Oprah
According to Carl Lentz, pastor of the Hillsong megachurch in New York City, people are lost without Jesus and salvation is only found in Him.
Pastor Lentz shared this with me when we talked by phone on Tuesday, November 1, in response to my October 27 article, “Pastor Lentz, Can You Clarify Your Comments to Oprah?”
He was clear, unambiguous, and unashamed: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).
But first, a word of background.
I began my October 27 article stating, “Pastor Lentz, as you know, I’ve tried on several occasions to reach out to you privately (most recently this week), but without a response, so I’m asking you publicly if you would please clarify your recent comments made to Oprah Winfrey.”
My office had reached out to his office earlier in the week, but we were unable to get a response from Pastor Lentz (although we heard from other church staff), which was the same thing we experienced over the last two years.
Well, it turns out, he had no idea we were trying to contact him, and the moment he found out I wanted to interact, he tweeted me saying he was easy to reach. Within minutes, we had each other’s email addresses and were in contact.
But there’s more to the story.
Not only did he have no idea I had tried to contact him several times over the last couple of years, but he told me that he had actually tried to contact me after reading my letter to him on LGBT issues, and somehow, his email never got to me.
I had my staff check all our emails and sure enough, on October 18 of 2014, at 9:17 PM, Pastor Lentz had written this to me through our website.
I read your letter and would love to get to know you. I gave my email info on this, look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your letter and for its gracious tone while you expressed your views. It’s appreciated.
Sincerely Carl Lentz
Somehow, his email fell through the cracks in our system, and I had no clue he had tried to reach out to me. And since I prize godly communication, I was mortified to see that this happened (no one on our staff can figure out how we overlooked the email).
That is one reason why we do our best to get a negative response from a leader — in other words, a leader telling us he or she is not interested in interacting — before addressing things publicly. Miscommunication is more common than we realize, and we do well not to rush to judgment before we have all the facts.
So, to be clear, Pastor Lentz had no idea I had been trying to reach him, I had no idea he had tried to reach me, and he was eager to interact with me now.
And that leads me back to the present: Is Carl Lentz a heretic who believes there are many ways to God, as one of my Twitter followers recently alleged?
Pastor Lentz told me with passion that while people might differ with some things at Hillsong, there was no possible way anyone could accuse them (or him) of believing in universalism.
He said that he believes in John 14:6 with every fiber of his being, with his entire life, and so he doesn’t know why he didn’t quote the rest of the verse to Oprah (namely, that no one comes to the Father apart from Jesus) because that is absolutely what he believes.
When I asked him why he told Oprah that people can have a relationship with God without being a Christian, he said his intent was to say that everyone can have a relationship with God, but the question was will they, then he pointed to Jesus as the way.
But he was quite humble about these things, saying that he continues to learn and grow and wants to do a better and better job when he is in the public eye. At the same time, he wondered who had ever said to Oprah’s audience that the most important question is “Who is Jesus?” And as I pointed out in my previous article, Pastor Lentz said plainly in the Oprah interview that people needed to repent of their sin and bow their knee to God.
In that context, he urged people to listen to the whole interview and told me that he has heard from many people since the interview who want to get right with God.
When I asked him the question, “Are people lost without Jesus?” he said, “Without a doubt! He’s the only hope of salvation. One hundred percent.” And, he added, “Without Jesus, you can have everything but have nothing. That’s why I’ve given my life for Jesus and for souls.”
Can you be anymore plain than that? And while Pastor Lentz made clear to me that he was glad to answer my questions (because he recognized me as a brother with a redemptive heart) and that he had no desire to please his critics, I would say to his critics: You have no business accusing him of universalism in any shape, size, or form. He could not have been more clear.
I would also say to his critics: I am not here as an apologist for Hillsong, since I have never attended a Hillsong service in my life or read a book or listened to a full sermon by Brian Houston. I can only address my conversation with Pastor Lentz.
I would encourage you to watch his entire interview with Oprah, and if you feel you could have done a better job than he did, ask God to open the door for you to be on her show. And if that doesn’t happen, pray for Pastor Lentz to be an even more effective vessel, since God has opened great doors for him.
I am posting this article with the permission of Pastor Lentz.
Source: Michael Brown, Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz Clarifies His Comments to Oprah, Christian Post, https://www.christianpost.com/news/pub-sat-hillsong-pastor-carl-lentz-clarifies-his-comments-to-oprah-171271/, Published Nov 05 2016. (Accessed Nov 15 2017.)
Email all comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org