Disgraced Former Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz Assumes Role At Tulsa Megachurch

Former Hillsong minister Carl Lentz landed a position at Transformation Church, a large nondenominational congregation in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Lentz was dismissed from Hillsong, a global charismatic megachurch based in Australia, three years ago over “leadership issues and breaches of trust” and “revelation of moral failures.” Hillsong founder Brian Houston, who resigned last year himself over inappropriate interactions with two separate women, said in leaked audio that Lentz was involved with “more than one” extramarital affair, and described the interactions as “significant.”

Tammy McQuarters, who works as “executive pastor of operations” at Transformation Church, said in a statement that Lentz will start work as a strategist following multiple years of self-reflection. “We gladly welcome Carl Lentz to our Transformation Church staff,” McQuarters commented. “After two years of Carl being in his own discovery and healing process, he has shown readiness to use his God-given gifts towards the local church again. We believe in Carl, his marriage, his skill set, and his restoration.”

Lentz, who led the Hillsong branch congregation in New York City, previously gained worldwide attention as a spiritual adviser to celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Kendall Jenner.

Other ministers have voiced concern about Lentz’s forthcoming return to ministerial work, contending that his apparent restoration as a Christian and husband does not alleviate his disqualification from vocational ministry. Brandon Scalf, a pastor and church planter at Heritage Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, said in an interview with The Daily Wire that the Bible calls church leaders to a high standard of moral excellence, especially in light of the apostle Paul’s writings to Timothy and Titus in the New Testament.

“Let me be clear that Carl can be, and likely is, forgiven by both God and his wife. He can be restored in Christ. If he is truly repentant and has worked hard to heal his marriage and own his sin, then the church should welcome him as a brother and friend,” Scalf remarked. “This does not mean that he should be restored to pastoral leadership. Those two things are not the same.”

Scalf asserted that evangelical churches often risk obfuscating the requirements discussed in the Bible for elders and deacons by adding novel roles to church leadership such as directors and coordinators. “God has very serious warnings in his word for those who decide to do church on their own terms,” he continued. “I would still say he’s disqualified from public ministry no matter how one chooses to define his role.”

The onboarding of Lentz occurred shortly after Mike Todd, the lead pastor of Transformation Church and a prolific presence on social media, garnered controversy for asserting that Christians are allowed to entertain a desire to cheat on their spouses. “It’s okay to feel it. Nobody has ever gotten in trouble for feeling it,” Todd claimed. “I can feel it, I can’t act on it.”


Scalf countered that the narrative of the Bible centers on humans falling into sin and misery after they acted upon their evil desires. He noted how Jesus said that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” and that “everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

“Sin is born from the womb of the heart and mind and then is conceived in our actions,” Scalf observed. “Once we have purposed to do it in our mind, we will have no problem doing it with our hands.”

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