Carl Lentz’s affair sparks Hillsong probe
Brian Houston has vowed to investigate the "inner workings" of Hillsong after New York-based pastor Carl Lentz and his Australian wife were sacked for Lentz' infidelity.
The sacking of Laura Lentz has triggered animosity, leading the church's founder to respond on social media yesterday.
"We are launching an independent investigation into the inner workings of Hillsong NYC/ East Coast," Houston tweeted.
"We need a solid foundation for a fresh start and new beginning. The best is yet to come," he wrote.
One follower, under the name poshpopcorn, posted, " "Maybe I'm late to the party but wasn't his wife a victim of her husband's affair. Why would she have been fired?"
Another, Kate Hasselhoff, wrote: "Was Laura also 'terminated' along with Carl? "If so, that only highlights the (antiquated) belief that the women who are part of your organisation's leadership, aren't thought of as equals in their pastoral roles/titles/service, to the men."
The investigation will be led by Darren Kitto, a member of the board of Hillsong directors, triggering complaints on Twitter the probe will be biased in favour of the church.
Pastor Scott Litwiller wrote: "From one pastor to another, I hope that you are using neutral outside teams. Just going to leave it there."
Samuel Adler questioned the independence of the investigation tweeting: "Glad to hear it. Too many broken hearts left Hillsong NYC because of leadership. We hope there will be actual transparency at the end so everyone can learn and then forgive."
James Prescott asked "independent?"
It comes as Justin Bieber and his wife distanced themselves from the Lentzs, unfollowing the pair on social media.
The couples had been close since Lentz baptised Bieber in 2014 - and acted as his spiritual adviser. The Lentzs attended Bieber's wedding in 2018 and remained in contact during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The social media snub comes only hours after Carl Lentz's mistress said he was "not a really good cheater".
The 42-year-old's alleged mistress, NYC-based fashion designer Ranin Karim, told the New York Post she met Justin Bieber's spiritual guru while walking her dog in a park in May.
He took her number and they met up again in a park the next day.
Now after he and his wife of three children have been let go from Hillsong Church, Ranin has spoken out.
"I'm here to tell the truth," she said.
"And maybe by doing that, other people will have the courage to speak up too."
They met up a few times more, had tequila shots and he told her that she was his "Middle Eastern Unicorn woman", she said.
In September, they began seeing each other more, often twice a week, she claimed.
"We were obsessed with each other," she said.
"He was like a drug to me. I was a drug to him."
Then, over the course of one weekend, his wife - and then his job - saw their texts.
"All his messages are linked from the iCloud," she said, and somebody from Hillsong saw them on his computer.
"He's not really a good cheater."
Even after he was fired, they continued speaking - up until a final exchange this past Thursday, following his Instagram post.
Originally published as Carl Lentz's affair sparks Hillsong probe