Last week, Carl Lentz, pastor of Hillsong Church in New York City, made a guest appearance on The View to promote his new book. But it wasn’t his book that got attention. Instead, it was his answer to a rather pointed question — “Is abortion a sin?”
Lentz said, “That’s the kind of conversation we would have, finding out your story, where you’re from, what you believe. I mean, God’s the judge. People have to live with their own convictions,” Lentz said. “That’s such a broad question to me. I’m going higher. I want to sit with somebody and say, well, where do you believe…”
Behar interrupted, “So, it’s not an open and shut case with you?”
Lentz responded, “Some people would say it is. … I’m trying to teach people who Jesus is first, find out their story. Before I start picking and choosing what I think is sin in your life, I’d like to know your name.”
Understandably, his answer had a lot of people worried and frustrated. The Babylon Bee even wrote a satirical article joking that just before he could give his thoughtful answer, he ran off stage “remembering he had left a pot of pho simmering in the kitchen” and saying, “‘I’d love to answer your question on abortion, but I’ve really gotta go. Sorry Joy!'”
But, after getting a lot of heat for his response, Lentz released the following statement:
Thoughts addressing a recent interview: pic.twitter.com/WoAcFwy8UQ
— carl lentz (@carllentzNYC) November 7, 2017
We’re certainly thankful for Lentz’s acknowledgement and the way he has chosen to speak in love to the women in his congregation who are struggling with regret from past abortions. But with such a huge platform, Lentz has a responsibility to stand for the issues that matter, and his response on The View just didn’t cut it.
But clearly, it isn’t as though he has evil intent and he loves abortion. In fact, his original answer likely came from a place of not having a compelling pro-life expression. And this is far more common than we’d hope.
According to the Barna Group, 35% of women in the church are getting abortions and 91% of churchgoers listed abortion as the most important topic to hear about from their pastors.
If the topic of abortion is so crucial to congregants, why aren’t more pastors talking about it from the pulpit?
Our guess? They simply don’t know how to talk about it.
Abortion is a complex topic. And, as Lentz proved last week, it’s an incredibly difficult topic to address with both truth and grace. It would certainly take pastors a little bit of time and some research, but when millions of lives are on the line, we think it’s well worth it.