NEW YORK — Hipster Hillsong NYC leader Carl Lentz has drawn concerns over the past week after he posted a photograph on social media announcing his upcoming appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sunday” television broadcast.
“I really enjoyed my time with @oprah filming for her Super Soul Sunday show,” he wrote on May 18. “She is truly a special woman and a culture changer. To come from absolute poverty in Mississippi and reach the point where she became the first African American multi-billionaire takes a passion and drive that is exceptional and tireless.”
He continued to praise the talk show host, and said that others should emulate Oprah’s practice of thanking Jesus with each new day.
“What struck me most about her, was her ease and kindness,” Lentz remarked. “She told me her key was ‘waking up each day and thanking Jesus for loving me and thanking Him for all he has done.’ That practice, in that order, is one to be copied.”
The Hillsong leader also stated that he was thankful for the opportunity to talk about spiritual matters on Oprah’s broadcast.
“I’m grateful that she opened up her platform to talk about Jesus unapologetically and without borders,” Lentz said. “It’s literally impossible to ‘say all the right things’ in interviews like this. I don’t even remotely try to. My goal is to always say the one thing that matters eternally, and by Gods grace, we are able to at least do that!”
While the photo generated over 16,000 likes on Instagram and over 5,000 likes on Facebook, many raised concern over the Hillsong leader’s appearance with the television celebrity, who once said, “There are many ways, many paths to what you call God. … Does God care about your heart or does God care about if you call His Son Jesus?”
“Oprah is a pagan with New Age beliefs. For many years she has stated that there are ‘many paths to God.’ She denies that Jesus said the way is narrow,” one wrote.
“This is very disturbing,” another stated. “I actually am not surprised by Carl Lenz. I am disturbed about the lack of discernment in the Church. … Please Church wake up. Stop following men. Stop looking to be entertained.”
“Lol c’mon man, do you need us watch-people to talk to you about Oprah, or can you figure out yourself?” a third wrote. “She openly denies John 14:6 is true, yet you’re claiming she wakes up everyday and thanks Jesus, the Jesus of John 14:6 she denied. This is the fruit we’re talking about man. Right here.”
Lentz replied to the comments on Instagram, remarking that he doesn’t like followers arguing about the Bible on his page.
“I don’t check these comments often, and the further I read on this thread, I’m reminded to do it less and less!” he said. “I will say that I can no longer allow people to use my comment section as their own personal theology blog! Can’t do it. Wrecks my picture and becomes almost embarrassing.”
“To all those leaving encouraging messages, it is good to read. 99.9 percent of people understand what this, what we are all about,” Lentz continued. “Social media has given a voice or comment section to all. It is what it is! Remember: the light is winning!!!! And that light shines on trolls and kind people alike. Goodnight and God bless!!”
As previously reported, Hillsong NYC is a popular 8,000 member Pentacostal congregation, which meets each week in nightclubs, theaters, and other venues across New York City. Trendy concert-like music, strobe lights, and Lentz’s unconventional messages draw thousands of attendees every Sunday.
Celebrities often stop by Hillsong NYC to experience Lentz’s unorthodox messages, which are often replete with street slang and modern lingo. Pop star Justin Bieber occasionally attends services and was reportedly baptized by Lentz.
Despite Lentz’s burgeoning popularity, many Christians are concerned with lack of clarity on social issues, including homosexuality. Lentz says he does not like preaching about moral debates and once told Katie Couric that Jesus “very rarely” talked about “morality and social issues.”
“My Bible says, be attentive to individual needs,” Lentz told his congregation in a sermon, which was publicized by the Huffington Post. “So I’m not gonna make polarizing political statements about certain things in our Christian community right now. No matter who says what, we won’t be pressured into giving blanket statements to individual needs. Never.”