Hillsong NYC's pastor Carl Lentz has been criticized for drinking with pop singer Justin Bieber. During a Hillsong's conference in New Zealand in March this year, photographs have emerged showing the pop singer drinking at a local pub with the Hillsong pastor.
Joe Schimmel of Good Fight Ministries and pastor of Blessed Hope Chapel in Simi Valley, California has expressed concerns about Lentz's friendship with Bieber. He tells Christian News: "[T]he chief concern from these images has to be how someone, who calls himself a pastor, is engaging in such an activity with someone who has a history of abusing substances," Joe Schimmel of Good Fight Ministries and pastor of Blessed Hope Chapel in Simi Valley, California, told Christian News Network. "How can Lentz give an account for himself when he takes shots alongside someone who has been arrested and pleaded guilty to DWI?"
He said that the images of Lentz joining in with Bieber "do nothing but paint a picture of someone who is being influenced by the world rather than edifying and building up a young man in his walk."
"As Christians, we are not to walk as the world does. We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession. How must this look to the non-believing world?" Lentz asked. "Is it normative behavior for the Christian? Is it the sort of behavior that a shepherd leading his flock should engage in? That is not what I read when I pick up my Bible."
"The singer started out his night fully clothed like any other patron, then stripped off his camouflage jacket and white singlet which saw some unstoppable smiles from the two female bartenders serving him," reported news.com.au. "Shots and cocktails were on the menu for the U.S. singer and his mate, Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz."
Bieber has described himself as a faithful adherent of Christianity, said he communicates with God via prayer, and that "he's the reason I'm here". He reflected his faith in a music video with Brandon Burke, titled "#iPledge", in which he "talks candidly about his appreciation for the tenet of forgiveness in the Christian faith".