A spokesperson for Hillsong Church, an Australia-based, Christian megachurch, denied rumors that the house of worship played a role in pop star Justin Bieber’s decision to cancel the remaining dates of his Purpose World Tour.
As Faithwire previously noted, reports have swirled in recent weeks that Bieber abruptly cancelled the remaining dates to start a church — or that he did so for more general “religious reasons.”
But the singer has denied these rumors, and now Hillsong, a church to which he has ties, is also pushing back.
“The recent announcement by Justin Bieber about his tour does not involve Hillsong Church,” a spokesperson for the house of worship told The Daily Mail. “We wish Justin the best for his future.”
It’s no secret that Bieber is close friends with Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz, with Bieber also attending the annual Hillsong Conference in Sydney, Australia, earlier this month (Lentz famously baptized the singer). But the church denies ties to the tour cancellation.
As previously reported, fans were initially shocked on July 23 when the singer’s team announced the abrupt tour cancellation, giving the vague explanation that the decision was made “due to unforeseen circumstances.”
Almost immediately rumors started swirling that Bieber was stepping off the performance stage to focus more intently on his Christian faith — or to possibly launch his own church. That latter possibility was floated on Tuesday by Australia’s “Today Extra.”
“I am led to believe that the real reason he’s come off the road is because he wants to reconnect with his faith, and maybe even planning to start his own church,” reporter Richard Wilkins said on the show. “Whether he’s looking at teaming up with [Hillsong] … or starting his own church, we’re not quite sure … That’s the word from an inside source.”
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) July 25, 2017
Sources affiliated with Hillsong Church — a house of worship that Bieber has affiliations with — also reportedly told TMZ that the cancelation was rooted in the fact that Bieber had “rededicated his life to Christ.”
Bieber, himself, seemed confused when a paparazzo recently asked, “Did you cancel the concert due to religious reasons?” to which the singer responded, “No.” When the cameraman continued to pry and again asked why the rest of the tour was canned, Bieber responded, “You already know the reason.” Watch Bieber’s reaction here.
The singer’s manager, Scooter Braun, did leave a few hints as to why the singer made his decision, taking to Instagram earlier this month to thank fans and crew, alike, for a good tour run and to apologize for the disappointment some are feeling. He did mention Bieber’s “soul” in the statement, though there was no direct faith tie to the cancellation.
“To those that won’t be able to see it… on behalf of myself, Justin, and the team, we are sorry,” Braun wrote of the tour. “That was never our intent. But a man’s soul and well being I truly care about came first and we must all respect and honor that.”
Read more about the story here.