Carl Lentz’s Alleged Mistress Speaks Out in Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed Trailer: ‘Toxic’
(Link): Carl Lentz’s Alleged Mistress Speaks Out in Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed Trailer: ‘Toxic’
February 16, 2022
The Discovery+ docuseries premieres on March 24
Hillsong Church was a star-studded house of worship, but scandal has overshadowed its charismatic brand of Christianity in recent years. Now a Discovery+ docuseries, Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed, delves deep into the headlines — including former pastor Carl Lentz.
Once a spiritual confidant of Justin Bieber, Lentz was ousted from Hillsong in November 2020, ending a 10-year tenure because of what the church described as “moral failures.”
Soon he publicly admitted to being unfaithful to his wife Laura, whom he married in 2003 and with whom he shares three children.
Amid the fallout, Ranin Karim, a New York woman who said she met Lentz at a Brooklyn park in May 2020, alleged she was his mistress.
“It was the most toxic thing I’ve ever had to deal with,” Karim says in the newly released trailer for Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed, which Discovery+ will stream in three parts.
Lentz and Hillsong did not immediately return PEOPLE’s requests for comment about the docuseries.
“Featuring interviews with Hillsong insiders, megachurch experts and Ranin Karim, the woman whose five-month affair with celebrity senior pastor Carl Lentz led to his downfall, the series will explore the high-profile, star-studded church’s alleged exploitation, abuse and cover-ups,” Discovery+ said in a press release.
…In the church’s most recent controversy, Brian Houston — who launched Hillsong in Australia in 1983, when it was known as Hills Christian Life Centre — announced he’d be stepping down and focusing on a legal battle in Australia related to charges that he concealed child sex crimes committed by his late father, former preacher Frank Houston. Brian has repeatedly denied the allegations.
(Link): Bombshell ‘Hillsong’ doc details sex scandals that battered celeb megachurch
…“Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed,” a new three-part docuseries premiering March 24 on Discovery+, dives into the jaw-dropping history of the religious institution and its founder Brian Houston, who has been accused of everything from embezzling church funds to covering up child sex abuse.
Houston, 68, stepped down as the church’s director in January (amid a court case accusing Houston of hiding his late father’s sexual abuse of children — all of which the church has denied), and he resigned for good March 23, after an internal misconduct investigation, which found Houston had behaved inappropriately towards two women.
“It is a culture of ‘protect the brand at all costs,’” Elle Hardy, author of “Beyond Belief: How Pentecostal Christianity Is Taking Over the World,” says in the documentary. “And whatever it takes to achieve that.”
Hillsong originated in Australia in 1983, founded by Houston, who grew up in dad Frank Houston’s Sydney-based Pentecostal church. When Houston was looking to expand into America, charismatic young pastor Lentz, now 43, came to his attention in 2010.
“It makes you feel like your belief system is valid in the modern world,” Hardy says, referring to Lentz’s cutting-edge haircut, tattoos and clothing, which lured in millennial and Gen Z congregants.
(Link): Hillsong leader criticizes upcoming Discovery Plus docuseries for overlooking church’s good deeds
By Jeannie Ortega Law, Christian Post Reporter
February 23, 2022
Hillsong Church interim global senior pastor Phil Dooley contended this week that the upcoming Discovery Plus docu-series titled “Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed” paints an unfair picture of the church.
The three-part series, coming to the streaming service on March 24, purports to demonstrate how the Australia-based global evangelical church network has toed the “fine line between cult and culture,” according to recently released trailer.
While preaching for a global simulcast Sunday to Hillsong churches worldwide, Dooley tied his message from Nehemiah 4 to the situation surrounding Hillsong. He seemed to compare the resistance Nehemiah faced to Hillsong’s controversies in recent years.
“There are those who are against what God is doing . . . and we’ve felt the pain of that,” Dooley said in the Feb.19 message.
Dooley and his wife, Lucinda, served as youth pastors in Sydney before leading Hillsong South Africa in 2008. They’re now stepping in for Brian Houston, who founded Hillsong in 1983. The 68-year-old recently stepped down as Hillsong global senior pastor as he fights a criminal charge in Australia.
…Dooley maintained that the picture Discovery Plus is painting of Hillsong is “far removed from … the truth of who we are as a church.”
He specifically slammed the producers of “Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed,” noting that “their purpose is not the healing of people, but simply to hurt the church.”
…The interim pastor went on to list the good things the church is doing.
… While addressing the upcoming docuseries, Dooley, who has been a part of Hillsong Chruch for over 30 years, briefly acknowledged the alleged victims of some of the church’s leaders. He said he was saddened by their experiences.
He later stated that Hillsong has “never claimed to be a perfect church.”
For the series, Discovery Plus partnered with the New York Post and investigative journalist Hannah Frishberg, who has written several articles about Hillsong and Lentz.
(Link): Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed | Official Trailer | discovery+
The explosive three-part docu-series, Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed, will premiere on Thursday, March 24 on discovery+, the definitive non-fiction, real-life subscription streaming service, with all three episodes available on that date.
Featuring interviews with Hillsong insiders, megachurch experts and Ranin Karim, the woman whose five-month affair with celebrity senior pastor Carl Lentz led to his downfall, the series will explore the high-profile, star-studded church’s alleged exploitation, abuse and cover-ups.
(Link): Sex Abuse Allegations by Carl Lentz’s Former Nanny Put Spotlight on Hillsong (Church) Culture
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