Carl Lentz, former pastor of Hillsong East Coast, broke his silence Wednesday, nearly two years after it was revealed he engaged in an extramarital affair that led to his ouster from the New York City-based church.
Questions swirled about his personal life in the wake of the moral failure, a transgression that led Lentz’s wife Laura into bouts of post-traumatic stress and depression, which she opened up about last fall.
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“It’s been a challenging road, but we are alive, we are at peace, and thanks to the grace of God, we are together,” Lentz wrote in a post he shared to Instagram and Facebook. “Not sure what the future holds for us, but we do know that we face it as a family, and for that, I am so thankful.”
The ex-pastor added, “My deepest thanks to our friends and family that have shown us such unconditional love and grace when we have desperately needed it. Forever grateful.”
He ended the post writing he and his family “are hopeful about what is ahead.”
The new photos mark Lentz’s first social media post since November 2020, when he admitted his infidelity and revealed he would be ending his time as a pastor with Hillsong East Coast.
“I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life, and [I was] held accountable for that,” he wrote of his firing from Hillsong. “This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions. I now begin a journey of rebuilding trust with my wife, Laura, and my children and taking real time to work on and heal my own life and seek out the help that I need.”
In her own post published Wednesday, Laura Lentz said she and her husband have worked diligently over the last 22 months “to make our marriage what it has become, [and] we will never stop working on ourselves, for this marriage and for our kids.”
“I know there are many that don’t or would never do what I chose to do, and that’s OK; it’s not for everyone,” she wrote. “I look forward to sharing our story, how I came to that conclusion and I think it’s going to help a lot of people. But I am so proud of my husband [and] for the responsibility he’s taken. Mostly, I’m grateful for a man who humbled himself [and] didn’t try to defend himself. He has kept quiet publically [sic] and he has remained focused on the one thing that matters most — our family.”
While Carl Lentz disabled comments on his post, Laura Lentz has received an outpouring of well wishes from well-known faith leaders and celebrities, including Bible teacher Priscilla Shirer, former “Cheetah Girls” star Adrienne Bailon, and actor Eve Hewson.
Lentz is not the only embattled figure to come out of Hillsong.
The Sydney-based church’s founder, Brian Houston, fully resigned from his post at the megachurch in March of this year after the global board found he breached the church’s code of conduct with at least two women.
According to the board’s finding, the first incident involved Houston sending “inappropriate text messages” to a female staff member during a 2010 exchange. At the time, the board explained, the Australian preacher was “under the influence of sleeping tablets and had developed a dependence.”
The second incident came to light much more recently, in 2019, when — according to the board — Houston “became disoriented after a session at the Hillsong Conference, following the consumption of anti-anxiety medication beyond the prescribed dose, mixed with alcohol. This resulted in him knocking on the door of a hotel room that was not his, entering this room and spending time with the female occupant.”
“The truth is we don’t know what happened next,” said Phil Dooley, global senior pastor of Hillsong. “The woman has not said there was any sexual activity. Brian has said there was no sexual activity but he was in the room for 40 minutes.”
Houston was already in hot water prior to these more recent findings.
In January, the Australian preacher had stepped away from all “ministry responsibilities” at Hillsong as he dealt with legal charges alleging he intentionally concealed his father’s child sexual abuse offenses, which authorities believe occurred in the 1970s.
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