On October 30, 2017, Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz went on “The View” and, while trying to give a non-answer on abortion, essentially provided a defense of it. The progressive audience applauded raucously. It was a shameful performance and I wrote about it at the time.
The article was widely shared. Other publications picked up the story, and Lentz certainly got the message. I corresponded briefly with him in the following weeks, and while I didn’t get the sense he fully grasped the gravity of his error, he was willing to discuss it and hear what I had to say.
Now, roughly a year and a half later, the article has been shared on Facebook more than 170,000 times in the last few weeks compared to 17,000 shares in the previous 17 months since its publishing. Given the article’s massive second wind, it seems appropriate to write a follow-up article about Lentz’s change in posture toward abortion since the original.
Following the passage of New York’s new abortion law in January, Lentz approached the opportunity to address abortion much differently than he did 16 months prior: “Although it is layered and there is language in it that some are claiming will protect mothers in peril, the only way I can describe where we are and where this is all headed.is evil, shameful and demonic,” Lentz wrote on Instagram.
I don’t use those words lightly, but they are applicable here. Some have said this is strictly a ‘women’s rights issue.’ i dont disagree. We simply believe that WOMEN IN THE WOMB deserve the right to life, deserve the right to breath. Laws like this say unless you have a voice, if somebody deems you ‘viable/non viable’ you have no protection. Psalm 139, tells us otherwise. I have hope still, that God will help us raise our collective voices, to see this change. This cannot stand.
Calling it demonic is an impressive condemnation of abortion. In a country of pulpits that are often silent on abortion, Lentz’s comments represent leadership. For this, Lentz deserves commendation.
However, it shouldn’t take the passage of an especially heinous abortion law to get worked up about abortion. All 50 states currently submit to the Supreme Court’s self-appointed authority to strongarm them into allowing murder. A Senate chamber cheering the legalization of Kermit Gosnell-like horrors should, of course, upset us, but Lentz and the body of Christ should be equally upset about all abortion as we are about late-term abortion.
We also need voices not only speaking the truth that abortion is evil, but also leading the way toward its abolition. Lentz and other New York Christians should follow the lead of Christ is King Baptist Church Pastor Jon Speed, who resides and preaches in Syracuse. Speed closed his bookstore in a “day of mourning” the day after New York’s new abortion law was signed.
He has since testified at city council hearings in Batavia, New York, imploring public officials to ignore the state’s endorsement of death and Supreme Court opinions and make theirs a “sanctuary city” for the pre-born. Along with activists Chris and Brittany Connelly and others, Speed is blazing a trail that the rest New York’s pastors and Christians need to follow.
A bright spot from Lentz’s 2017 appearance on “The View” was his response to being asked whether his church is involved in politics. “When people say, ‘keep politics out of the pulpit,’ I say ‘what do you mean by that?’ Because politics affects people,” Lentz said. “So when that’s happening, you better believe we’re going to talk about politics… Jesus came to destroy the political norm of the day. Since I’m a Christian, I believe I’m supposed to speak directly to politics and things that effect people should be talked about in our church.”
This is leadership. Christians all around this country have failed egregiously on this front, buying into the progressive idea that political opinions coming from a Christian foundation are legally invalid and that they’re not supposed to redeem the culture for Christ.
Lentz should abide by his stated belief on speaking biblical truth to political issues and take the next step by speaking the truth directly to political leaders. I encourage Lentz and other New York pastors to get in touch with Pastor Speed and tangibly resist evil at the political level.
Still, Lentz’s January comments were a clear sign of growth. I hope he continues growing, but it’s also necessary to acknowledge clear improvement and appreciation for his harsh rebuke of the grave evil New York has made itself complicit in.