Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz has lamented that his church is drawing criticism from both the Christian right and leftists when it deals with controversial issues like same-sex marriage.
In a recent interview on HBO's "Vice News," Lentz said that he backs the biblical definition of marriage as being between only one man and one woman.
"My opinion is secondary to what we believe the Bible's opinion is. So Hillsong Church, traditionally, for 30 years, we would say the Bible is really clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. And I believe the Bible says what it says, and I interpret it exactly as the Bible says," he said.
However, he complained that his church "gets killed from both sides" when dealing with such issues.
"The Christian right thinks we're too open; the super left thinks we're not loud enough in our affirmation," he explained.
Lentz has recently drawn criticism for not giving a clear answer when he was asked about his thoughts on the issue of abortion.
When Lentz was asked in a recent interview whether his church considered abortion to be sinful, the megachurch pastor said that people have to live with their own convictions and added that he did not classify the issue as an "open and shut case."
The 38-year-old pastor has since clarified that he believes that abortion is sinful, and expressed hope that people would continue to help those who have made decisions to abort their child, rather than "cast further shame and guilt" on them.
Lentz has been known to work closely with celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Kylie Irving, Selena Gomez and Hailey Baldwin.
In the interview with Vice News, Lentz dispelled the idea that Bieber's ties to Hillsong are similar to actor Tom Cruise's advocacy for Scientology.
The megachurch pastor contended that Scientology attempts to indoctrinate people and make them into its spokespeople. "We've never done that. Justin has never set foot on stage," he said.
Hillsong teaches that the Bible is the authoritative and final word on all matters of faith, and therefore opposes various issues such as homosexuality, abortion and the teaching of evolution.
Brian Houston, who is currently the senior pastor of Hillsong in Australia, said that although the church "welcomes ALL people," it does not "affirm all lifestyles."
He recently affirmed the biblical stance on marriage during the nationwide postal plebiscite on legalizing same-sex marriage.
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