Mega-church Pastor Carl Lentz is facing criticism this week for not defending unborn babies when he had the chance.
Lentz, the pastor of the influential Hillsong Church in New York City, appeared on “The View” last week to talk about his ministry. And the panel – a group of pro-abortion women who love to bash pro-life advocates – asked Lentz about his views on abortion.
Rather than speak boldly about loving both the mother and her unborn child, Lentz side-stepped the question, The Federalist reports.
“So, it’s not a sin in your church to have an abortion?” pro-abortion host Joy Behar asked.
Lentz responded: “That’s the kind of conversation we would have finding out your story, where you’re from, what you believe. … I mean, God’s the judge. People have to live to their own convictions. That’s such a broad question, to me, I’m going higher. I want to sit with somebody and say, ‘What do you believe?’”
“So it’s not an open and shut case to you?” Behar asked.
“Some people would say it is,” Lentz responded. “To me, I’m trying to teach people who Jesus is first, and find out their story. Before I start picking and choosing what I think is sin in your life, I’d like to know your name.”
At another point, co-host Sara Haines asked where Lentz stands on issues like abortion and homosexuality.
“Hillsong is seen as this hip, progressive church that’s drawn huge millennial crowds, but it’s still evangelical,” Haines said. “So, where do you stand on social issues that young people are particularly passionate about, like gay marriage [and] abortion? Like, how do you address those types of things?”
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Lentz replied: “I think our job is still to help people—not necessarily change how they think—but try to point them to what God has said, what we believe the Bible [has] to say. We believe that God is good, that God loves everybody, that Jesus was here to set people free, and that’s still the good news of the gospel.”
His answer disappointed a lot of fellow Christians. Many want their clergy to speak boldly about the value of unborn babies, the atrocity of abortion and the love that should be shown to both mother and child.
James Silberman criticized Lentz’s response, writing at The Federalist:
This position might be received as a moderate stance on the issue or a lack of stance altogether. But in this case, to be on the fence is to be on the side of child sacrifice. “Live to your own convictions” is practically the slogan of the abortion lobby. Lentz might as well have said “My body, my choice,” or “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries.”
Lentz has received a lot of publicity and criticism for his remarks, but he is not atypical. Studies indicate many pastors are hesitant to speak about abortion. A 2016 Pew Research Center poll found that just 29 percent of respondents heard their clergy member speak about abortion during a religious service. Most who did said their clergy spoke out against abortion (22 percent), while a few (3 percent) said their clergy spoke in support of abortion.
Mega-church pastors, popular Christian authors and other ministry leaders can make a huge impact by speaking out against abortion, and some do. Author and Pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback Church, Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse, Todd Wagner at Watermark Church and popular author Ann Voskamp are just a few. They use their voices to speak a message of love and compassion for the hundreds of unborn babies who are being slaughtered daily in abortions and their mothers who are being deceived and broken by the abortion industry.