DISGRACED pastor Carl Lentz was branded “narcissistic, manipulating and difficult” by Hillsong founder Brian Houston in a bombshell secret recording, obtained exclusively by The Sun.
The church leader, who fired Justin Bieber’s former spiritual advisor after his cheating scandal was exposed, held a meeting with senior Hillsong East Coast members on November 19 to discuss the fallout.
Carl Lentz was fired after admitting cheating on his wife of 17 years, Laura [/caption]
“I’ll only ever say this once, but if you want to know why we took such radical action, and so quickly, the leadership that [inaudible] been talked about … just general narcissistic behavior,” he said.
“Manipulating, mistreating people, other hurtful things, the breaches of trust [inaudible] and constantly lying. I wrote down basically broken trust.”
Houston opined Carl was “unaccountable” and “basically running his own race,” adding that he understands some staff and pastors felt they weren’t being listened to when they raised issues about him.
“I just want to say in defence of our pastors and our team there … Carl was and is an extremely hard man to confront and anyone who may have tried to do that would know exactly what I’m talking about,” he went on.
Brian Houston hit out at Carl in the secret recording, claiming he’s difficult to confront [/caption]
Justin Bieber has distanced himself from his former spiritual advisor, Carl Lentz [/caption]
“And so it’s not as though people weren’t being heard, it’s just that it’s almost impossible to get an issue raised [inaudible] becoming very difficult, and the messenger was usually the person who became the enemy.”
In the revealing audio clip, Brian can be heard explaining how lead pastors alerted him to Carl’s infidelity after compromising text messages were found on his work computer and they “drove across town” late at night to confront him.
The Sun previously interviewed his mistress, Ranin Karim, who claimed she had a five-month affair with Carl – after he initially told her he was a sports agent before she found out his real identity online.
Brian went on to describe the married pastor in the recording as a “difficult man to have any kind of direct conversation with,” adding that he’s “always defensive.”
Carl and Laura are said to be working on their marriage after he admitted he was unfaithful [/caption]
He said: “It would always be put back on the other person as though they’re the ones with the problem.
“And so they were not easy meetings and I was already at the point, at the end of summer, that I felt like Carl and Laura’s time in New York was coming to an end.
“I can honestly say before God the first time I ever heard any moral complaint against Carl was when Tolu [Badders, a lead pastor] contacted me.
“And so if anyone’s wondering whether this is something we knew about, no it’s not.”
Brian Houston fired Carl for “moral failures” after years within Hillsong [/caption]
Ranin Karim spoke exclusively to The Sun about her five-month affair with Carl Lentz [/caption]
He said they may have been able to work with Carl and wife Laura, who have been married for 17 years, if it was just one instance and could have had a “period of restoration.”
But after it emerged his bad moral behavior was “historical” he said the only way forward was to terminate him, while he claims Laura was already planning to resign.
He denied claims they fired her, saying they wouldn’t drop an “innocent person because of her husband’s sins,” and discussed the family having now relocated to Los Angeles.
The audio reveals the church has hired Zukerman Gore Brandeis & Crossman, LLP, a law firm in New York, to act independently and conduct a thorough investigation.
Carl has apologized for his behavior and says he’s hoping to rebuild the trust within his marriage[/caption]
Brian said it could take around a month, as they continue to interview churchgoers and leaders to corroborate information, and will not yet announce new pastors.
He described this period of time for the church as “very painful and stressful” and that he and wife Bobby “despise seeing people being treated badly or misused.”
Brian said: “I just want people to know that it’s not Hillsong culture, as far as I’m concerned, to speak roughly to people, to treat people harshly.
“I actually believe that with a new foundation, a line in the sand, that we can start a healthier church, a healthier relationship, one where people are valued,” he said.
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Carl and wife Laura have now moved to Los Angeles, with their three children – Ava, 16, Charlie, 14, and Roman, 11 – and have been pictured together on a number of occasions.
The Sun has reached out to Hillsong and Carl Lentz’s rep for further comment.