Hillsong New York pastor Carl Lentz clarified what he said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey about who can have a relationship with God.
His comments were given in response to an article from author and radio program host Dr. Michael Brown asking him to explain what he said in Oprahs’s show, Super Soul Sunday.
Lentz told Brown that Jesus is “the only hope of salvation. One hundred percent."
"Without Jesus, you can have everything but have nothing. That's why I've given my life for Jesus and for souls," he added, according to Charisma News.
The controversy over Lentz’s view on salvation began when Oprah asked him if Christians are the only ones who can have a relationship with God.
“Do you believe that only Christians can be in a relationship with God?” Oprah asked.
“No,” Lentz said in the interview. “I believe that when Jesus said ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ – the way I read that, Jesus said He’s the road marker, He’s the map.”
“So I think God loves people so much that whether they accept or reject Him, He’s still gracious and He’s still moving, and He’s still giving you massive red blinking lights for you to take a right turn when you would take a left,” he added.
His response elicited criticism from many Christians. Brown addressed the issue in an article directed to Lentz, hoping Hillsong’s “rockstar pastor” would reply and explain his statements.
“My dear brother, please read your own words again. When one of the most influential women on the planet asked you if only Christians can be in a relationship with God you answered no,” Brown wrote. “Is that what you really believe? If not, would you publicly and clearly correct this, being sure that Oprah is the first to know?”
He added that two of his most important questions regarding the Oprah interview are: “Are people lost without Jesus?” and “Can people have a true relationship with God outside of Jesus?”
In the article, Brown said he attempted several times to reach out to Lentz but got no response from him. As it turned out, Lentz was not aware that Brown had been trying to contact him. The moment he learned about it, he tweeted Brown, and the two started communicating.
Conversing with Brown over the phone, Lentz said he believes “with every fiber of his being” that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, as stated in John 14:6.
He also said he believes "without a doubt" that people are lost without Jesus.
As for his comments on the Oprah show saying Christians are not the only ones who can have a relationship with God, Lentz said he meant to say that “everyone can have a relationship with God, but the question was will they,” adding that Jesus is the way.