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Carl Lentz tells Oprah faith is a journey


Carl Lentz during his interview with Oprah. Credit: Youtube capture/Own Channel

Carl Lentz during his interview with Oprah. Credit: Youtube capture/Own Channel

Recently Oprah Winfrey interviewed Carl Lentz, the popular and well-known pastor of Hillsong Church in New York City. Lentz is often referred to as the ‘rock star pastor’ with a ‘come as you are’ approach. He sometimes preaches in night clubs and theaters.

New York’s Hillsong Church is known for its passionate worship that draws people from all genres, particularly the younger generation.

Speaking of his church Lentz states, “we’re a cool church preaching an ancient message” and his mission is to transform the way people experience God.

His message is about God being interested in us as a work in progress. He firmly believes our faith involves a journey.

Justin Bieber’s baptism s a great example of what Lentz is talking about. Lentz along with Judah Smith, Justin’s pastor, baptized the pop star late one night in a friend’s seven-foot bathtub.

Lentz is proud of Justin Bieber wanting to be baptized in the middle of everything he was going through at the time. Baptism showed his desire to start fresh and begin pulling himself out of the mire, even though he still had a lot more to deal with.

Lentz describes baptism being an outward sign of what God is doing inwardly in a person’s life.  I imagine this would have instilled hope in Bieber knowing that God cared about him as a ‘work in progress.’

For Lentz we are all on a faith journey and some of us are at different stages.

Yet, some people still have a problem with Bieber declaring his faith when his life isn’t completely straightened out.

Oprah shared her experience growing up in a church where love was preached but there was no trust among the congregation. When the church split, she watched her Sunday School teachers walk out of the church.

In her opinion, Hillsong Church was not “your grandmother’s church” and that  it was not about ‘religion’ but  a relationship with God. Lentz agreed that it was about people knowing who Jesus was and what He did for them.

When Oprah asked who Jesus was?  Lentz answered:

“Jesus is the answer, He is everything. Jesus is God, the atonement and salvation. Admit your need for God.  Bow your knee. There is a moment when your repentance matters. I can’t do enough. I’m not going to make it on my own. A rescue takes place and God’s grace takes over.”

This was salvation and both Lentz and Oprah agreed that “Jesus was the way, the truth and the life”  (John 14:6).

Lentz talked about religion not being a bad thing, but that the word did have a bad connotation. It’s about a relationship with God. It is not dependent on your background, how you dress or what you did Saturday night.

It’s about a soul transformation.

Every person’s  journey is different. People are facing different issues in their lives. Some are dealing with emotional issues, addictions, and others aren’t.  We are all heading in the same direction in God but it may take some  longer.

Don’t despise people because they aren’t at the same stage in their journey as we are. We have no idea what they are dealing with. But the Holy Spirit is continuing His work to transform their lives.

Oprah talked about the Holy Spirit as Divine Energy and said she used both terms.

Lentz agreed but cautioned that we can hijack words like ‘faith’ and ‘Holy Spirit’ and make them ambiguous.  As an example the Holy Spirit is a person and not the wind blowing. He had just preached a message on the Holy Spirit  being our Advocate, Helper and Lifter of our Head.

Oprah’s conclusion was that the energy at Hillsong Church in New York City changed people’s lives.

Karl Lentz reiterates throughout the interview that Jesus is attainable any moment and every moment of your day.  A relationship with God is not dependent on your behavior.  It’s about soul transformation.

When your soul is transformed your behavior changes and you find rest for your soul.

“Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you” (Psalm 116:7)

 

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3 Comments

    • Yes sir Mr Scott we are all on a journey but each journey as you know has has a specific destination. In Christianity this destination was allays the return to the presence of God! Who are those Theologians I wonder who are going to point out to us the sure road that will lead each and everyone back to the presence of God?

      From the island of Cyprus (Acts 13:4,5).
      Is There a Higher Theology For Man, Than Knowing God personally -person to PERSON?

      There are those today who live in not so distant places that have a real life person to Person relationship with Lord Jesus!
      These humble words that are shared with brotherly love and respect, point out to the kind of relationship man was made to have with our Lord Jesus Christ. The following paragraphs, where taken from the book of Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos Entreaty” (Paraklitika), and it is knowledge that must be shared with all those who have Lord Jesus Christ as their Heavenly Father.

      “Those who have made their selves worthy to see God are the True Theologians. Saint Gregorios the Theologian taught that those who saw God like Apostle Paul can safely theologize, because the sight of God cleans them from all fantasy, and renders them true preachers of the truth making them explicitly different from philosophers and philosophies”.

      Metropolitan Hierotheos who is member of the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church continues in his book:

      “It is with a lot of awe and fear of God that we dare write here that even today there are Saints (that are alive today) who saw and see Christ in the Light, they converse with him, and stay in His Sight for days and even weeks. We have been blessed by God to personally meet such people who saw Christ in His Divine Light, who attest to the fact that Lord Jesus is a True God, the only Savior of man, our only hope for Eternal Life, our only way out of the dead end that we have reached”. (John 17:3) “And eternal life means knowing you (personally), the only true God, and knowing Jesus Christ, whom you send”

      Saint Gregorios (3rd century) description of his personal experience who saw Christ in His Divine Light is used as an example to describe how the Saints are able (became worthy), to see and know God in His Divine Glory.

      “UNDER CONDITIONS OF CONTINUED PRAYER AND UPWARD EXTENSION THAT HAVE AS CLIMAX THE UNION WITH GOD, MAN IS POSSESSED ENTIRELY FROM LIGHT OF DIVINE GLORY THAT IS SEND FOURTH ETERNALLY FROM THE TRIAD. AFTER THE MIND IS SEIZED FROM THE DIVINE LIGHT AND ENTERS THE LIGHT IT BECOMES ITS SELF-LIGHT. THUS LIKE LIGHT, IT SEES LIGHT”

      A notion, which Saint Symeon goes to great lengths to clarify in his writings, is the fact that the Divine Light is a Person. It is not simply a sensible radiance—an inanimate luminosity such as one might receive from a lamp, or from the sun. Rather the Divine Light is the very ‘Person’ of the Divinity Himself: it is not simply a product of God, it is God. “Your light, O my God, is You”, he writes, and to this point of emphasis he often returns. Saint Symeon is also known to emphasise in his teachings… “If we don’t see Lord Jesus in this life…we will never see Him ever”! There is no other theology higher than being in the presence (union) with God. There is an actual physical ontological transformation that takes place that can be verified after death and after exhuming the body that testifies to an awesome EXPERIENCE in the presence of God.
      The object and the purpose of our Christian Life is enabling our selves in His Divine presence by becoming in His Likeness (“Be Holy because I am Holy” (Peter 1, 16) through a THERAPY that was delivered to the Apostles the day of Pentecost ONCE AND FOR ALL 2000 years ago!

      Orthodoxy teaches that it has an unbroken Holy Tradition of spiritual knowledge a way of life (Divine Life) that leads to the mystical union with God. This mystical union is also known as Sainthood, Salvation, Supernatural condition, the Overcoming of mans mortality state, or being a god by the Grace of God. They also teach that it is not possible for this union to become an object of any kind of an academic study that can “discover” or “deepen” in the knowledge, because Christianity is all about Divine Grace.

      The people of the Nations belonging to Orthodox Christianity will never claim that they have discovered the road (THERAPY) for Salvation. However they will tell you that their prime directive and responsibility has always been to keep everything that was passed down from Jesus (the Holy Spirit) and the Apostles u n c h a n g e d for these methods and teachings that were put forward for the Salvation of all man constitute or sum up the Divine Will of God.

      To know Lord Jesus philosophically is to have a love relationship with an idea “philosophy” and not Lord Himself who appears to his Saints in His Divine Light as a PERSONALLY! This why the Greek Orthodox Church teaches that, -Man has a Divine Inheritance (the Church) and a Divine Destination (Eternal Life, Holiness)

      The personal experience of the Saints begotten during conduct with Divine Light is the very base of Orthodox theology.
      The term “Orthodox Psychotherapy” does not refer to specific cases of people suffering from psychological problems of neurosis. Rather it refers to all people, for it is the darkening of the “nous” (mind) a condition disabling man to ever have communion (PERSON to person) with God.

      Video on U tube:History of Orthodox Christianity – Byzantium [–the creed- the word Orthodox-, dual nature of Christ, icons the dispute, ecumenical counsels, monastic life, filioqve, crusades sack Constantinople

      I belong to no organization (that does this) and no one pays me. I do not hold any kind of position anywhere.
      God bless and please take care
      Constantinos James Wiliams

      Like

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