Concerns Raised as Photos Resurface of Hillsong’s Hipster ‘Pastor’ Carl Lentz Slamming Shots With Justin Bieber

Photo Credit: AKM-GSI/BackGrid

Following word that Justin Bieber has cancelled the remainder of his “Purpose” tour, as well as unconfirmed reports that the pop star has “rededicated his life to Christ,” concerns are being raised as to what kind of spiritual influence Hillsong hipster Carl Lentz has been on the singer.

Since earlier this year, photos of Lentz with the soon-shirtless Bieber slamming shots together at a bar have been circulating online—the latest among a number of controversies involving Hillsong NYC, which also raised eyebrows last year after its youth leader appeared as the “naked cowboy” during a women’s conference.

“[T]he chief concern from these images has to be how someone, who calls himself a pastor, is engaging in such an activity with someone who has a history of abusing substances,” Joe Schimmel of Good Fight Ministries and pastor of Blessed Hope Chapel in Simi Valley, California, told Christian News Network. “How can Lentz give an account for himself when he takes shots alongside someone who has been arrested and pleaded guilty to DWI?”

He said that the images of Lentz joining in with Bieber “do nothing but paint a picture of someone who is being influenced by the world rather than edifying and building up a young man in his walk.”

“As Christians, we are not to walk as the world does. We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession. How must this look to the non-believing world?” Lentz asked. “Is it normative behavior for the Christian? Is it the sort of behavior that a shepherd leading his flock should engage in? That is not what I read when I pick up my Bible.”

While the photographs were taken in March during Bieber’s visit to a Hillsong conference in New Zealand, and were released by secular outlets at that time, they have just recently been brought to light in Christian forums. One image shows the two having shots together at Blue Door Bar in Queenstown, another captures the men still standing at the bar as Bieber decides to go shirtless.

“The singer started out his night fully clothed like any other patron, then stripped off his camouflage jacket and white singlet which saw some unstoppable smiles from the two female bartenders serving him,” reported news.com.au. “Shots and cocktails were on the menu for the U.S. singer and his mate, Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz.”

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But Schimmel noted that Scripture says those who are saved are to no longer behave like the rest of the world.

“In 1 Peter 4, we are given a reminder that Christ suffered in the flesh so that we would ‘live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God (1 Peter 4:2),'” he outlined. “We are then told that non-believers marvel at the fact that we do not run in the dissipation that they run in. One of the very dissipations that is listed in that statement is the attendance of ‘drinking parties.’ If taking shots, taking off your clothes, and dancing around a bar isn’t a drinking party, I don’t know what is.”

Schimmel said that he is concerned how Lentz’ decision to join Bieber in slamming shots and drinking cocktails could influence or affect Bieber, who is looking up to him as a father figure in the faith. The pastor told Christian News Network in 2015 that he has been praying for Bieber to find genuine repentance and faith in Christ, and advised Christians to inspect Bieber’s fruit as Scripture instructs.

He noted at the time that even after Bieber unveiled a “Jesus” tattoo on his leg several years ago, he was taken into custody by police on two separate occasions for vandalism and drug possession. And, he marveled that “[j]ust a month after Justin Bieber made headlines for allegedly groping a Playboy Bunny, and amidst another potential scandal wherein a teen model … claimed he hit on her after her drink was allegedly drugged at a party he hosted in Melbourne Australia, he is in the headlines again for his claim to be a Christian.”

“Genuine believers are new creations in Christ and old things have passed away and all things become new,” Schimmel outlined. “The apostle Paul stated that those who truly belong to Christ ‘have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires’ and bear the ‘fruit of the Spirit.’”

In addition to hopping up to the bar during their March visit to New Zealand, Bieber and Lentz also took a bike tour, during which they sang along to the Ludacris profanity-laden song “Move [Expletive] (Get Out the Way).”

“I’ve been drankin’ and bustin’ too/And I been thinkin’ of bustin’ you/Upside ya [expletive] forehead/And if your friends jump in/’Oh girl,’ they’ll be mo’ dead,” the lyrics read. “Move [expletive]! Get out the way!”

While Lentz bobbed to the music and sang out the tune alongside Bieber, he substituted the recurring curse word in the chorus for “please,” while Bieber used the expletive.

View the video of the bike tour sing-along at the end of the report.

Veach, Bieber and Lentz being interviewed about the Hillsong Conference

Bieber has frequently posted photographs of himself with Lentz on Instagram in recent weeks, along with hipster ministers Rich Wilkerson of Vous Church in Florida and Chad Veach of Zoe Church in Los Angeles. Wilkerson is known for marrying profane “Yeezus” rapper Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, and had his own reality show on Oxygen called “Rich in Faith.”

“In recent months, the themes of Wilkerson’s sermons have been based on songs from the Top 40: Drake’s ‘Worst Behavior,’ DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s club thumper ‘Turn Down for What,’ Beyoncé’s ‘Drunk in Love,’” the Miami New Times reported in 2014.

“His messages take surprising detours on their way to the gospel. He might roll out a story about pissing his pants as a kid, talk about marital sex, or even point out the church’s proximity to Miami’s strip joints,” it outlined.

Earlier this month, Wilkerson interviewed Bieber, Lentz and Veach during Hillsong’s “Closer” conference in Australia, as they spoke about the event that was underway. The interview reportedly aired on Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN).

“I just enjoyed watching people worship, praising God,” Bieber said, and soon began brushing his teeth on camera during the discussion.

When Wilkerson asked the men what the theme “closer” meant to them, Veach shared his thoughts about being closer to God, and then Wilkerson turned to Bieber for his views.

“Same-sies,” he replied, continuing to brush his teeth, and then quipped as he laid his head on Lentz’ shoulder, “I just want to love people more. I just want to love Carl more.”

View the video in full here.

“This is my dog til the day I die … He’s the biggest Brodog, ride or die … til the wheels fall off!! #bringsthebestoutofme,” Bieber also posted to Instagram in sharing a selfie with Lentz.

Other photos, interspersed between numerous shirtless images, show Bieber wearing a tee that reads “The truth shall set you free” and on Father’s Day, he shared Psalm 68:5, which reads, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”

Photo credit: Instagram

As previously reported, Lentz drew concern last year after he praised Oprah Winfrey following an appearance on her “Super Soul Sunday” broadcast.

“What struck me most about her, was her ease and kindness,” he wrote. “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.”

After followers pointed out that Winfrey is involved in New Age and denies Jesus as being the only way to God, Lentz stated that he didn’t like followers using his page as their “own personal theology blog.”

“Wrecks my picture and becomes almost embarrassing,” he wrote.

He also raised eyebrows after his interview with Winfrey was aired as some worried about his response to Winfrey’s question as to whether or not only Christians can be in a relationship with God.

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.”

The matter prompted charismatic writer Dr. Michael Brown of The Line of Fire and Charisma News to reach out to Lentz.

“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 explained.

“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.

However, others said Lentz’ response did not assuage their concerns.

“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,” wrote Jeff Maples of the site Pulpit & Pen. “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.”

As previously reported, Hillsong NYC is a popular 8,000-member congregation, which according to the Australian headquarters of Hillsong, is “a contemporary pentecostal church.” It 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.


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  • Heather Clark

    Test

  • Heather Clark

    Testing.

  • sagat

    By their fruits you shall know them

  • Andrea

    what do you expect from a baby Christian? We don’t follow pastors, we are to follow Christ. Men will always fail, God does not. To much attention paid to celebrities… its a form of idolatry. Pray for JB. Leave your judgments for your ownselves. Im sure there is plenty to keep us all busy with our own libves

    • Poco Reese

      +Andrea, please read the word of God. It is our duty as Christian to make sure we call out SIN, Habitual SIN, Blasphemy, Hypocrisy, ANTIchrist, etc. in the church. If Hillsong would go ahead and stop pretending to be a church for tax practices, and stop leading our children to the pit of HELL, then these comments would be different. There are lives that are so tender and vulnerable. Do you not care that Children are looking up to this False Teacher, and his False Teacher, Brian Houston? Brian and Carl are in a Cult. Brian is an Apostle in the New Apostolic Reformation. So now Carl is attending the conferences of this Cult. And you want us to be SILENT. Have you not read Jude 1: 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
      23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Guess What Andrea, Baby Christians like Justin follow Sinful, Blasphemous men like Carl. So it is our duty to warn them. We will not be silenced by you, otherwise God will discipline Christians. Read the Royal Commission Report. Brian Houston is a criminal. Covering for a Pedophile when the church is filled with Children is so Wrong. Now ignorance is not a defense, so please become informed of the atrocities at Hillsong worldwide and allow the truth to guide you back to a safe harbour. All this is said in love with first hand knowledge of what happens to children who are led astray. One of Brian’s dad’s victims committed suicide. One person wanted to kill Frank Houston. Thankfully, God took him home before more sinned.

  • Gena B

    What’s sad about this is that as much as Beiber needs good Christian support and counseling to help him, this so called ‘pastor’ needs saving as well. There is a difference between backsliding and tripping up on accident, or purposely committed sin. He seems to be living a life committed to his own designer God while raking in money and pretending to even know Jesus. The Hillsong guy is no more a man of God than Trump, because the fruits are clearly visible.

    • Chet

      I wouldn’t have included President Trump in the equation…

  • Stephen Füssle

    Congratulations #HeatherClark, #ChristianNews, and any other person who has shared this link, or agreed with this article… You have all been promoted to Satan’s prosecution team. Our spiritual enemy, the accuser of the Saints, doesn’t even have to do his job because you so-called Christians have done it for him. You hypocrites, you brood of vipers, your thirst for salacious gossip and judgmental hearts are as filthy as the darkest of sins. Have you ever met these two, do you even know them, do you profess to wield the ability to see into the hearts of men as only God is able? If you saw Jesus himself walking to the bar you would call him a drunkard in a glutton just like the Pharisees did. If you ever picked up the Bible, who would know that Jesus himself was known to frequent these types of scenes and scenarios. This is the kind of trash that pushes people away from Jesus. Since you publicly jumped on this excrement wagon, I say shame on you, you will be held accountable for the lost souls that you have prevented from encountering Jesus. Thank God I’m not sitting with some of you in your homes while you participate in this garbage, because then you would have tempted me to throw some tables and bust out a whip on that back side!!! #ThisPastorsPerspective #TimeToCleanOutTheHouse

  • mary-ann

    shame on you who published this story openly, we should support & shield our “young” brothers & not expose them, after all its not taking them to hell, remind you of the parable in the Bible, the woman who was caught in adulatory, what did Jesus say? Those of you without sin cast the 1st stone….and abt. the pastor having a shot with hiim…so what? thats none of our business…Im fed up with all these “holier than thou” Christians, thinking themselves so good, shut up , shield your brothers & get on with your own work!

    • Vanessa Loy

      Would you have the same reaction if Carl Lentz had a habit of doing alcohol shots with homeless, HIV-positive sex offenders?

      • Poco Reese

        what about hanging out with Pedophiles? Lets not forget that Lentz’s Sr Pastor share his beliefs and allowed his Pedophile dad to Pastor at Hillsong. Homesexuals are rewarded with leadership positions at Hillsong, NY too. Then they announce their engagement to same sex partner that is also a member at Hillsong. What do we celebrate here in the bars? Carl Lentz is blind and he leads the sheep astray. Justin Bieber said that the music industry, movie industry, etc. are led by Pedophiles. He is still in trouble of hell fire following a man who denied that Jesus is the only way to God. Carl Lentz is a false profit.

        • mary-ann

          dont worry Bieber has his home church in Canada & people that help him!his mom is a christian

          • Poco Reese

            I am happy to hear that his mom is a Christian woman. Will keep him in my prayers. I hope that Bieber understands that there is ONLY ONE Way to God and that is through Jesus. Blessings to you and your family as well.

      • mary-ann

        who is HIV positive in this discussion? anyway, arnt they people as well?

    • Rich

      Mary-ann, please dont forget the other thing Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery; quote “go and sin no more”.
      Paul gives us the tools for dealing with sinning brothers and sisters and calls for us to not tolerate sin. We ALL sin…you do, I do, but we should not continues in sin that grace may abound.

    • Poco Reese

      Mary-Ann, Carl Lentz is the Head of a Church. He is not in his bedroom, he is in a public place acting like ??? How many do you think he lead to Christ this night? Go AND SIN NO MORE…Please use all of the scripture. You may be angry because the truth pierces the soul. God will not be mocked. Read Proverbs 31:3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
      4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
      5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.

      • mary-ann

        we are all in diffr.stages”Rome wasnt built in a day”….there is nothing that puts off people more, coming to church & mixing with christians as much as when they only “preach” to them telling them what to do all the time….step by step…& let every man build his own house, God is personal…even if Lentz is head of a church & taking a shot with Bieber, that is his choice & that doesnt make him a drunkard! Stop critizizing….Maybe Lentz is “human”….& we need more “humans” in church life!

        • mary-ann

          what are you telling me? that Brian Houston is a paedophile?

          • mary-ann

            you havnt anwered my question…but its not our job to decide who are to be leaders in Hillsong….there are many “weird” leaders/pastors in many other churches as well…….im sure there are many honest Christians as well at Hillsong…..Jesus came to save sinners & not the righteous…we are all in learning stage still…the main thing is that we get to love & know Jesus…& the fruits will show if we are in the right kind of love. Apart from that im totally against anybody in leadership that practises homosexuality, paedophile,abuser etc they have nothing to do there!

          • Poco Reese

            I get confused with the way I get these updates, sorry. Hillsong is a Cult run by an Apostle of the NAR. The people at the church do not have a voice. It does not matter what they think. The true Christians should stop supporting that cult. When Frank Houston set the church up he stripped the congregation of its power. All the power is in the hands of the Pastor. When the two churches became one (Frank’s Church and Brian’s Church) they probably kept the same structure because Brian is the Sr Pastor. He is taking over smaller churches and Lording over them. This is so unbiblical. How can one man run the whole world. His goal is to establish a kingdom here on earth. ONly Jesus can do this…He will bring the New Jerusalem down from heaven. Please Prayerfully consider the souls that are in jeopardy. The Hillsong Pastors are not biblically trained via a sound theological seminary. Many are just hand picked to do the job. This is a Cult!

          • Poco Reese

            No, Brian allow Pedophiles to Pastor at Hillsong. He allows homosexuals to Pastor and to be leaders in the church. Brian had an obligation to report his dad to the Police and he did not. He tried to hide the fact that his dad sexually assaulted so many children. When the Royal Commission conducted their investigation they reported Brian Houston to the Police for concealing a crime against children. This is why Brian is a criminal. He is a sick man too. He has never addressed the victims. They all deserve at minimum an apology. There was one Victim who had a Pastor (from a small church) in his corner. The Pastor did not give up even though Brian tried to ignore the requests of the Pastor. Finally, Frank apologized to this one victim and compensated him with a check for the sex crime he committed.

        • Poco Reese

          Have you ever looked in the eyes of a child who was victimized by an adult? There are no words to console a mom who stood on the sideline watching others raise her children and victimizing them along the way. There are women who give up their rights to parent in hope that the guardian, Adopting Parent, Pastor, Teacher, etc. will do a better job. This is not a one time problem that we speak about. There are so many RED FLAGS that have gone up about HILLSONG CHURCH and its pastors. Do not be deceived. That church is filled with people who follow Satan in search for? God has Spoken. Everyone is not called to lead. Carl is immature in his Christian Walk and he cannot lead others.

  • peanut butter

    There was a father up the street that had four boys. He didn’t teach them right from wrong. When they became of age he tried to bond with them. They took him down from trying to be a good example… to acting like them. If you are not strong in what you believe, you will easily be influenced by those you are trying to help, and they will change your belief system and hurt you. This ‘pastor’ is one of those weak people……….. Oh, and Beiber doesn’t want to love Jesus more, he just wants to love Carl more. Sounds like a homo thing to me.

  • MEP1101

    SOOO SAD !

  • Chet

    Gentlemen, speaking from experience, if you two are indeed saved, God will not tolerate backslidden behaviour but for so long before seriously chastising you for your willful sin(s). If you can continue on in sin like the worldly, without such divine intervention, you may well be bastards, spiritually speaking, according to God’s Word… Do check up on yourselves before it’s too late and the ravages of sin overtake you and you then live with consequences realizing you brought it all on your self. Check I John 1:9, Holy Bible, prior to impending incident(s)…

  • mr goody two shoes

    I finally can understand how pentecostals come up with their tongue talking. It makes sense now .they say one pitcher or picture is worth a thousand words. Especially if you slam uhm down as fast as ya can. I do believe a confessional Lutheran could even talk in tongues after that.

  • mr goody two shoes

    It clearly explains pentecostal tongue talking

  • SilentMajority

    It is not for us to judge but to love. As Christians we should not condemn but provide support and clarify the truth through the scripture. Most of what I read here is judgement and condemnation.