Is this the next face of American Evangelicalism?
Quick: Who are the biggest pastor celebrities in American culture?
For better or worse (and I’m leaning worse), American Evangelicals do tend to love celebrity preachers. Every “tribe” of American Evangelicalism has it’s superstar pastors – it probably doesn’t take you long to figure out who they are in your circles. There are a few whose fame moves into the greater American culture at large. Guys like Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, and TD Jakes come to mind. There are doubtless others whose fame extends beyond the evangelical world.
Like them or not, agree with them or not, these guys come to be regarded in the culture and in the media as default spokesmen for Christianity in our culture.
So maybe it’s time to meet Carl Lentz, because a lot of people are beginning to think he’s next.
Lentz is the 35-year-old pastor of Hillsong NYC, the American outpost of the pentecostal Hillsong church/movement in Australia. You’ve likely heard of Hillsong because of their music. He’s been described as “America’s Hipster Pastor” and “the next Joel Osteen.”
You can meet him in CNN’s profile here:
So there’s some things I like in this video, and there are some places where I’m not that keen. He’s clearly reaching people in an area where not a lot of churches have done so, but I’ve not heard enough of his preaching to know what he is teaching them.
Is he wishy-washy with the Gospel? I hope not, but the cultural mainstream of our country is not typically enamored with people who are not. But let’s hang on to Philippians 1:18 here, either way.
Perhaps it was inevitable given his charisma and location, but Lentz has broken into the mainstream scene in this country. He’s chatted with Katie Couric on her show, and been photographed with multiple celebrities, including NBA star Kevin Durant and the mysteriously popular Justin Bieber.
I’m guessing we better get used to seeing him.
So… Have you heard of Carl Lentz? What do you think of him?