By Dave Andrusko
I didn’t know until this week that Pastor Carl Lentz, the charismatic pastor of Hillsong New York City, had posted an Instagram harshly criticizing New York’s radical Reproductive Health Act (RHA). He wrote, “I spent hours talking to lawyers and people who hold opposing views on this issue. 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.”
As straightforward a condemnation as you possible ask for. But, alas, what Pastor Lenz gave with one hand he took back with the other hand (or at least a couple of fingers’ worth). Here is some background.
In November 2017, I wrote two stories about Lentz, who is very, very popular with Millennials. Pastor Lenz (he would likely grimace if he reading the “pastor” designation) had appeared on The View where, not surprisingly, they interrogated him on abortion.
Noting the church’s massive appeal to Millennials, Sara Haines, who was then one of the co-hosts, asked, “How do you address these sorts of things” (“social issues” such as abortion)?
Lentz tried to put the “social issues” in a larger context which prompted Joy Behar to ask/state, “So it’s not a sin in your church to have an abortion?” A moment later when he does not respond directly, Behar asks again, “So it’s not an open-and-shut case with you?”
Suffice it to say, his subsequent responses were hardly adequate. For reasons I explained at length in my two posts, I was not as hard on him as others were.
But a lot of pro-lifers were very unhappy with Lentz, whose prominence in evangelical circles grows by leaps and bounds. I’m sure he learned from Behar that most network hosts are not going to give him time to contextualize his answer on abortion. (He subsequently said he had wanted to start with Psalm 139, which, of course, is one of King David’s most memorable psalms. It includes verses pro-lifers always cite: “13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”)
Lentz at least partially redeemed himself in a subsequent interview with Relevant magazine. But his remarks were still on the defensive side.
Then came his January Instagram post. It is extremely powerful for many reasons, beginning with his out-and-out condemnation of abortion. The first two sentences set the stage: “Found this old photo recently, and I remember it taking me years to process that these LITTLE PEOPLE, had come into our world! A miracle, without a doubt.”
There are some of the usual confusions you’d expect from anyone who is not steeped in the issue. But the real problem (sigh) comes at the end.
Lentz, unfortunately, has swallowed hook, line, and sinker the propaganda line that pro-lifers are “invisible and hypocritical when it comes to helping women in need, in poverty, those who cannot gain access to proper medical care and creating policies that can help those that cannot gain access to proper medical care and creating policies that can help those that don’t choose abortion.”
Whatever he’s been told, we do not neglect women experiencing crisis pregnancies, before or after. Is it not extremely revealing that the Abortion Industry, in its insatiable lust for more dead babies and more money, will fight even the slightest assistance a locale or a state wants to give to Women Helping Centers? This from the same industry which receives hundreds of millions of dollars every year from local, state, and the federal government, in addition to huge amounts from private benefactors.
Yet he followed his misguided observation with
But this law [the RHA], isn’t about politics. This is about generations of babies that have no defense. Despite this dark day, our future is STILL bright because we know where our help comes from.
Again, I don’t know the man, let alone his heart. What I do know is that Pastor Lentz needs to learn about the people who make up our Movement. If he did know real flesh-and-blood pro-lifers, he’d quickly understand that we are not judgmental or condemnatory for a hundred reasons, beginning with the keen recognition that we are all fallible and subject to giving into intense pressure.
If you ever attend his New York City church, say hello and provide him with an education in Prolife 101.