By Mark Ellis
Her cultural and spiritual influence on America is immense. As the richest self-made woman in the U.S., her spiritual path veering into New Age influences has received sharp criticism from some Christians. But in a rather deep discussion with Hillsong’s pastor in NYC, nothing was held back as he boldly described the need to put Jesus first.
The 41-minute program with Pastor Carl Lentz aired October 16th on Super Soul Sunday, Oprah’s self-help TV show designed to let viewers “awaken to their best selves.” The show has featured an eclectic mix of prominent people, including Maya Angelou, Elie Wiesel, Ram Dass, Marianne Williamson, and Coach Phil Jackson.
It seems a close friend of Oprah had talked up Hillsong’s 8,000-member community in the heart of Manhattan and extolled its rock star pastor who preaches in nightclubs and theaters throughout the city.
Lentz began by telling Oprah his core mission is soul transformation. “If you get your soul right, your behavior will change,” he noted. “This is not behavior modification. You can change your behavior and still have a rotten soul.”
Oprah said she was struck by the fact that his approach de-emphasized “religion” in favor of a relationship with God.
He told her he didn’t have the power to transform anyone. “People waste so much time doing it in their own strength and they can’t figure out why it’s not working,” he told her.
“If you allow God, if you will bow your knee…admit your need of God and if you do that… there is a moment where repentance matters,” he said. Lentz said it’s important to “hand over the keys” to God and let him drive your life, because “God can drive better than you can.”
While Lentz directed his remarks generally to viewers, his message also seemed pointed at Oprah herself. He said salvation begins with looking in the mirror and saying, “All right, I’m not going to make it, I can’t do enough, God I need you.”