Much has been said about Hillsong senior pastor Brian Houston's stance regarding homosexuality and same-sex marriage after he was quoted as saying that their church is "gay-welcoming" although not necessarily "gay-affirming."
Now, Pastor Carl Lentz from Hillsong's New York City church is weighing in on the controversy, saying it is wrong for the Christian community to judge churches that employ a different approach in bringing people to God.
"Hillsong's heart on this matter is to reach all people, even communities that present extreme complexities. We do not believe that our method is 'the answer.' In fact, our approach currently brings supporters and detractors from both sides of this issue," he said, according to Religion News Service.
"We also don't believe that the people who criticise us have the answer either. So we would rather be misunderstood and look 'messy' to some in the Christian community that do not agree with us and help some, than appease people that think differently and reach none," he added.
Lentz stressed that their beliefs on biblical marriage and sexual morality have never changed at Hillsong church, but they still try to stay open to people who are in desperate need of God.
What concerns him though is that people are more concerned about their "method" of welcoming different kinds of people into the church, even though it's working, than they are concerned about the growing number of young gay teens who are killing themselves or the disquiet felt by the LGBT community who have found zero refuge in their "churches."
"Our doctrine and theology rings hollow and often even comical when we set up even more barriers for hurting people than our broken world is offering," he said. "Apparently, people want others to be transformed by a Gospel they are actually not allowed to hear, doubt, explore, have explained or see in action. If we believe that faith comes through hearing, let's not be perplexed as to why so many people are not listening. They have not been allowed in to hear."