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Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz Defends John Gray's Meeting with President Trump

08-08-2018
Carl Lentz
Carl Lentz

Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz is coming to the defense of his friend and fellow pastor, John Gray, who was highly criticized for attending a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House last Wednesday.

Pastor Gray was just one of several black faith leaders who came under fire for meeting with the president. Those critics accuse the president of being a racist with policies that aren't in favor of minorities.

In an Instagram post, Pastor Lentz is pushing back against the criticism and showing support for Gray's decision.

"I am baffled at times, at the responses from people when we see prayers answered," Lentz wrote. "I don't know a single person who hasn't prayed 'God help our President see what we see, see the hurting, help him live and lead with compassion and empathy.'"

Lentz went on to question the backlash wondering how people could object to Gray's chance to voice his point of view on how the nation could be made better.

The New York pastor said, "Trust me John, I've heard so many people say 'Let's go reach the world!' And then when you start doing it? They say 'You have changed. How could you be associated with such a person.' The idea, is always easier than the reality. I love the reality of who you are. Keep on shinin' my man."

 

WORTH THE READ, respectfully: As dark as it can seem, our hope that God can use us to bring change is brighter than ever! In that light, special memo to my brother @realjohngray ... I'm proud to be your friend! I am baffled at times, at the responses from people when we see prayers answered. I don't know a single person who hasn't prayed "God help our President see what we see, see the hurting, help him live and lead with compassion and empathy." Yet, when a man like YOU gets an invitation to GIVE YOUR POINT OF VIEW on how we as a nation can help REFORM AND CHANGE OUR FAILING AND POORLY CONSTRUCTED PRISON SYSTEM, people are somehow objecting to this. I respect perhaps, somebody's choice to decline such an invitation. I do not respect those that would disparage another, for believing they must walk through an open door like this. John please remember, we are not allowed to pick and choose who we lead, who we love, who we influence. It doesn't matter if the person is hated, or universally loved. It doesn't matter if the person is homeless, or internationally famous. It does not matter if people will impugn your motives, or the motives of a person in this case, inviting you to HIS TABLE. We are under orders to do what's right. Especially in the face of what is wrong. Somebody said to me "yea but he was trying to use John as prop." I laughed out loud. I told him firstly, you dont know John..Secondly, that gives far too much credit to "the other party." Furthermore do you know how many times a meeting has started in life, when somebody had bad motives, yet the gospel prevailed? I'll take my chances on John Gray and the Grace of God all day, over somebody who thinks they are gonna have the upper hand.. Trust me John, Ive heard so many people say "Let's go reach the world!" And then when you start doing it? "You have changed. How could you be associated with such a person." The idea, is always easier than the reality. I love the reality of who you are. Keep on shinin' my man..#occupyallstreets #allofem

A post shared by Carl Lentz (@carllentz) on

Gray previously responded to his critics on social media and said he prayed about whether to attend the meeting and that his "heart was as pure as his motives."

Gray wrote, "My first mind was no. The pain of so many is too real. The hurt. The isolation. The sense of disenfranchisement. The real hate that has bubbled to the surface of the national discourse. I myself have been vocal about my personal disagreements with key policy decisions of this administration," Gray continued. "I have everything to lose. Credibility. Reputation. Every natural inclination says stay home. Don't get played. But I did the one thing I can't shake: I prayed again and asked God, 'Do You want me in that room?' My attendance gives the answer. My heart was pure as was my motive and intention."

 

Optics. It’s never about what it is. It’s about what it looks like. My wife @grayceeme told me “If you go, no one will hear what you say. They won’t understand why you’re there. And any good that could come out of it will get lost in translation.” Wise words from a loving, discerning wife. I had not one thing to gain by being there. Not. One. But I asked the Lord when I was asked to be present in this initial meeting about potential prison reform-that could greatly end up benefitting many people who look just like me-Lord, Do you want me in that room? My first mind was no. The pain of so many is too real. The hurt. The isolation. The sense of disenfranchisement. The real hate that has bubbled to the surface of the national discourse. I myself have been vocal about my personal disagreements with key policy decisions of this administration. I have everything to lose. Credibility. Reputation. Every natural inclination says stay home. Don’t get played. It’s gonna be a photo op with no substance. But I did the one thing I can’t shake: I prayed again and asked God. Do you want me in that room? My attendance gives the answer. My heart was pure as was my motive and intention. But the pain of those who have been hurt is real. And I would be a dishonorable man not to acknowledge that. But I will honor what I believe was the mandate on my life to be there and available to God should He choose to give me voice. This post is in no way attempting to invalidate the visceral reaction of those who can’t imagine why I would be in the room. The question becomes who did Jesus turn away from? This said, I went to this meeting to listen. And I do pray for comprehensive prison reform so people can have the second chance they need. And I also understand the pain and questions. May my heart translate beyond the optics. (OH YEAH, the pastor who said the current president was the most pro-Black president ever WAS NOT ME-so get that STRAIGHT) love y’all. This post is closed to comments. This my heart. It needs no commentary. #swipeleft

A post shared by John Gray (@realjohngray) on

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