Hillsong’s Carl Lentz Clarifies Answer to Oprah if Only Christians Can Be in Relationship With God

Photo credit: Instagram
Photo credit: Instagram

Hipster Hillsong NYC leader Carl Lentz recently clarified his response to talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who had asked Lentz on her “Super Soul Sunday” program if only Christians can be in relationship with God.

“Do you believe that only Christians can be in a relationship with God?” Winfrey asked in a program that aired on Oct. 16.

“No,” Lentz replied. “I believe that when Jesus said that ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’—the way I read that, Jesus said that He is the road marker, He is the map.”

“So, I think that God loves people so much that whether they accept or reject Him, He’s still gracious, and He’s still moving, and He’s still giving you massive red blinking lights, for chances to take a right turn where maybe you’d take a left,” he continued. “But I believe God loves people, and that’s what this whole gospel is based on—it’s love. You take the love out of it, we’ve got a moral book.”

But radio host, commentator and author Dr. Michael Brown reached out to Lentz following the airing of the broadcast as some were concerned that Lentz’ response began with “no.”

“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,” Brown wrote in an article for Charisma News.

“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,” he said.

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Brown outlined that Lentz told him that he believes those without Christ are lost.

“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,'” he explained. “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.'”

However, some remain concerned about how Lentz responded to Winfrey despite his personal beliefs.

“Carl Lentz was ambiguous in his claims regarding Jesus. He clearly gave an equivocal and palatable answer to Oprah’s question—one that he knew, and let’s understand this, he knew that Oprah would not take issue with,” wrote Jeff Maples for Pulpit and Pen. “Even if he truly believes that Jesus is the only way, he didn’t say that. Further, what Lentz may or may not believe is irrelevant. It’s what he said that’s the problem.”

“Lentz telling Oprah essentially that she could believe what she wants, and then giving her a carefully worded unoffensive version of what he believes, is exactly the kind of double-minded instability a minister of God’s word is not supposed to have,” he continued.

Maples said that Oprah is fine with Christian beliefs as long as Christians don’t think their way is the only way, and Lentz’ comments could have led her to believe that her thinking was acceptable.

“Oprah is perfectly fine if you believe that Jesus is the sacrifice, the atonement, that He is God, as long as you don’t believe that he is the ONLY sacrifice, the ONLY atonement, and the ONLY God. See, Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers–they all believe that their gods are the right way for them too, and as long as you don’t become exclusive, you’re in good company,” he wrote. “Clearly, Lentz was in good company, or at least Oprah thought so. And that is grounds for criticism.”

As previously reported, concerns had first been raised in May after Lentz posted a photograph on social media announcing his upcoming appearance Winfrey’s 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.”

While the photo generated thousands of likes on social media, others 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.

Lentz responded to the controversy by stating that he didn’t like followers arguing on his page.

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  • Emmanuel

    Another Hillsong superstar with no calling or ministry. Too bad, Hillsong has great music.

  • Wes Wright

    Apparently he has not read the rest of the Scriptures

    • Charles

      These are the people who believe in what I call “Hippie Jesus”.. Not the real and true Lord Jesus Christ. They do have “Scripture” it’s one line that reads.. “God is love, the end”.

      • Mary Lyons

        Yep! Their own watered down version of Scripture. Oprah is into the New Age/Mysticism junk and she hunts out those who claim to be Christians like Lentz that are double-minded and uses them to poke at Christianity.

  • Gena B

    Wow, just wow. Jesus is not a road map, he is the destination. Jesus is the ONLY way and without him you have no hope of eternal life. If you truly believe in Christ and love God with all your heart, soul and mind, that makes you a Christian. This guy is just fulfilling her need to have a universal God where all are welcome regardless of belief. This is for those who want reward without obedience. These are the ones who believe that through their own abilities can find a God of their own invention.

  • peanut butter

    It IS ‘a moral book’.

  • Sue Duby

    GOD does not need us to defend Him. GOD the Son, Jesus Christ, the Creator & Redeemer, paid the ultimate price for OUR sin (the Bible states: ALL HAVE SINNED…). Whatever I tell you ABOUT the Bible will not quicken or make alive your spirit within. Only God’s Word will do. Read: 1Corinthians15:1-4; Romans 10:9-13; Ephesians 2:8 & 9! Faith + NOTHING=SALVATION (not our physical religious acts of any kind). Read the books of the Apostle Paul. GOD assigned Paul to be the spokesperson after Christ’s death, burial & resurrection following Christ’s heavenly ascension. 12 Books God thinks are necessary for us to read. AMEN🙏🏼✝️