Pastor Carl Lentz Says He Was Fired From Hillsong for Cheating on His Wife
By Jackie Willis
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Carl Lentz is coming clean about his past transgressions. The pastor, who was once very close with Justin Bieber and acted as a spiritual adviser to the singer, was recently asked to step down from leadership at Christian megachurch Hillsong for "moral failures."
The church announced the news on Nov. 5, and a day later, Lentz posted a lengthy message to Instagram and admitted that he had cheated on his wife of 17 years, Laura.
"I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life and held accountable for that. This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions," he captioned a photo of himself with Laura and their three children. "I now begin a journey of rebuilding trust with my wife, Laura and my children and taking real time to work on and heal my own life and seek out the help that I need."
Lentz -- who has been a pastor at Hillsong since 2010 -- also had a message for the church congregation. "I am deeply sorry for breaking the trust of many people who we have loved serving and understand that this news can be very hard and confusing for people to hear and process," he wrote. "I would have liked to say this with my voice, to you, in person because you are owed that. But that opportunity I will not have. So to those people, I pray you can forgive me and that over time I can live a life where trust is earned again."
Not showing any ill-will to the church or its leaders, Lentz added, "To our pastors Brian and Bobbie [Houston], thank you for allowing us to lead, allowing us to thrive and giving us room to have a voice that you have never stifled or tried to silence. Thank you for your grace and kindness especially in this season, as you have done so much to protect and love us through this. We, the Lentz family, don’t know what this next chapter will look like, but we will walk into it together very hopeful and grateful for the grace of God."
Brian Houston was the one to issue the statement that Lentz was leaving Hillsong.
"This action has been taken following ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures," the statement reads in part. "It would not be appropriate for us to go into detail about the events that led to this decision. Our focus at this time is to honor God and pastorally care for our East Coast church community as well as the Lentz family."
"We thank Pastors Carl and [his wife] Laura for the way they have served faithfully and sacrificially since the start of Hillsong NYC and for contributing so significantly to the countless lives that have been transformed for Jesus Christ through this ministry," the statement continues. "They have a heart for people and we are confident that after a time of rest and restoration, God will use Carl in another way outside of Hillsong church. In terminating his tenure, we in no way want to diminish the good work he did here."
Hillsong Church later announced in a statement that it was appointing an outside law firm to investigate concerns after the leadership change.
"Since last week’s announcement of a leadership change at Hillsong East Coast, we have heard from a number of people about their experiences and concerns," the statement reads. "It is important that we establish the truth and then do everything we can to ensure our church is both a safe place and one that seeks to glorify God in all that we say and do."
"For this reason we have decided to appoint a New York based legal firm that is not associated or affiliated with Hillsong to conduct an in-depth review and investigation into all concerns and any wider cultural issues," the statement continues. "We are taking this extremely seriously and on the basis of this report, we will be better positioned to take whatever actions are deemed necessary to right the wrongs and see Hillsong East Coast move forward in a way that enables many more people to find hope in Jesus."
ET has also reached out to Bieber for comment on Lentz's departure.